Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ended up in a virtual tie at last night’s Iowa caucus, with only eight votes separating the two. Santorum was boosted by a surge of evangelical voters enthused by his extreme, anti-choice rhetoric, while Romney continued to play well with the somewhat more moderate (and wealthy) section of the Republican electorate.
As he heads into the next primary states, Romney has two options — continue to try to position himself for the general election, being as careful as possible not to come off as too extreme while still providing enough red meat to the ultra rightwing to keep them happy, or try to appeal to Santorum’s base, too, in an attempt to end the contest quickly.
Romney has already come out pro-“fertilized egg as person” and has shown his abortion stance is primarily whatever polls well for him at the time. Going harder right on reproductive rights is the one move he has left in his arsenal, and Santorum’s rabid stances on birth control provide him with plenty of room to maneuver.
Will Romney go more anti-choice? It’s just over two weeks until South Carolina, and that will be the race to watch.