Santorum supporters, some famous, make drive to show support - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Santorum supporters, some famous, make long drive to show support

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The Duggar family poses for a photo after Santorum's speech on Saturday.  (Brian Troutman/WCIV) The Duggar family poses for a photo after Santorum's speech on Saturday. (Brian Troutman/WCIV)

By Brian Troutman
btroutman@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Rick Santorum supporters refused to watch the giant television screens tuned to Fox News, predicting Newt Gingrich as the winner in South Carolina before the end of the voting day on Saturday.

They had high hopes Santorum would make the best on his stance on defense, being the only candidate who has said he would not cut defense spending.

With South Carolina being a state strong with military retirees, they hoped Santorum gained those votes. They also hoped the strong support for his campaign from the historic campus of The Citadel made a difference in the state.

It didn't, but they are keeping what Santorum's campaign has built largely upon – faith.

Cathy Romaniello was among those supporters that traveled from several states away to show their support for the former senator. A former staff member of Santorum, she made a 13-hour drive from his home state of Pennsylvania.

Why?

She described Santorum as one of the best bosses she's ever had.

Romaniello had been in Charleston since Wednesday, helping to support Santorum's campaign in any way she was capable.

"He treated his staff so good," Romaniello said. "We believe he is the man that should be in the White House because of where he stands. He is a man of his word."

"We're not getting paid," she said. "We're just volunteers. We went to the polls today. We've been on the phones, handing out fliers, and we're exhausted, but we're having the time of our lives."

"I just pray that he gets in. I believe he is the man America needs. He is the heartbeat of America right now."

As results came in on Thursday and Santorum slipped into the position in South Carolina that political analysts predicted, Romaniello could be seen across the room, posture and stance almost as if she was in prayer.

"We're praying for something we're not expecting," she said earlier in the night.

Among others that made a long haul to show support for Santorum was Jim Bob Duggar and about half of his family. The Duggars, known internationally for their reality television show on TLC, made the trip to Charleston from Arkansas earlier this week.

"We actually went up to Iowa and helped Rick Santorum up there with his campaign," Duggar said. "…Here in South Carolina, on a shoestring budget, it looks like he's going to place third, even with all the attack ads and everything that happened."

Duggar said his support for Santorum comes with the former senator's views on faith and family.

"Our goal in coming all the way from Arkansas is to let America know that Rick Santorum is a family values candidate. He stands for the values that we believe in. …He's genuine."

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