Vice President Santorum? HRC Warns It's Possible

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com January 10 2012 4:54 PM ET

In what is further evidence of Rick Santorum's standing as the scariest of all Republican presidential candidates to LGBT voters, The Human Rights Campaign floated the specter of a Santorum vice presidency in an email to its supporters today.

"Make no mistake: even if Rick Santorum loses the Republican nomination, he could very well become Mitt Romney's running mate," warned HRC president Joe Solmonese. "A Romney-Santorum White House could set back our progress for years."

While none of the candidates is a darling of the LGBT community, the possibility of Santorum emerging even as part of a Republican ticket has the potential to rile LGBT voters like no other. The HRC points out his infamous "man on dog" comments in its letter, but there's a long track record of antigay positions it could have picked from, including a recent comment that gay parents would be worse at raising children than convicts.

But the HRC also points out that Santorum's effect on gay voters comes with a separate effect on the ranks of social conservatives in the Republican Party.

"Why Santorum? Simple," Solmonese says of him becoming the nominee for vice president. "He would motivate millions of right-wing voters and volunteers on Election Day."

Except for a recent surge in South Carolina, Romney has long faced an enthusiasm gap that has prevented him from breaking through a plateau in his poll numbers. He wasn't able to top his 2008 performance in the Iowa caucuses, and he'll face the same measure of expectations in New Hampshire's primary today.