Santorum, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush To Speak at Convention

National Journal

Former Sen. Rick Santorum gave Mitt Romney a run for his money during the Republican primaries. In return, Santorum will get a major speaking role at the Republican National Convention, organizers will announce Tuesday.

Convention organizers will also announce they are giving major speaking roles to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Sen. Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul, another of Romney's more dogged rivals.

Handing Santorum a prime speaking slot is a hat tip to his underdog presidential campaign. The under-funded, little-known former senator notched a surprising upset in Iowa, where his brand of social conservatism played well among activists. Santorum has been aggressive about wanting a speaking slot. "I have no doubt that we'll have some role at the convention," Santorum told CNN last week in an unusually forward statement.

Picking Paul looks like a particularly elegant solution to what might have been a thorny problem. Ron Paul's campaign didn't gain traction with voters, but his supporters understood party rules better than other campaigns, giving them the opportunity to win delegate seats at county and state party conventions. Had Paul won a majority of just one more delegation, he would have been allowed to be formally nominated for president, which could have been a hurdle for organizers trying to arrange an event that will serve as a Romney coronation.

The four speakers are the second wave of convention headliners to be named by the organizing committee. On Monday, the committee said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would address the convention.

Organizers haven't said precisely when each speaker will deliver their address, and they have yet to announce the person they will tap to give the keynote. But media reports have suggested New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will serve that role, and his name has been notably absent from the speaker's rosters already released.

View Comments (142)