Santorum banks on Iowa to break out of 2016 pack

Who is Rick Santorum?
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Washington (CNN)Rick Santorum, who won Iowa by 34 votes in the 2012 GOP presidential primary race -- with about 25% of caucus goers -- is looking for lightning to strike twice, in the same spot.

Never mind that his evangelical lane is crowded, or that lots of GOP candidates are talking about working families. This time, says a senior Santorum adviser, Santorum is the candidate with an advantage: He's got a team in place and he's done it before.
A senior Santorum adviser says the candidate has more than "2000 team leaders on the ground ready to go" and a fully formed campaign staff "with four times as many people" as they had last time.
"People who once weren't interested in us are now on our team. We have team captains in every county," the adviser said.
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    In addition there is this: Foster Friess, Santorum's past campaign sugar daddy, is back again. He's even with Santorum outside Pittsburgh today as the band gets back together.
    This time, however, evangelical conservatives have many more candidates to choose from, including Santorum. There's Walker, Cruz, Huckabee, Perry, to name a few.
    Never mind, says this senior aide.
    "Whoever wins this time won't get a quarter of the vote like Rick did last time," he says. "Somebody will win with 15%."
    It will come down to this, he adds: "Do you have a base that you have engagement with? We do, and we don't have to reintroduce ourselves."
    Right now, he adds, in Iowa there are "12 long-shot candidates, and no favorites. Everybody's got a challenge."
    The Santorum message has been honed a bit from last time, with some major themes.
    First, helping working families -- particularly given Santorum's past appeal to the state's blue-collar voters.
    Next, Santorum will emphasize his foreign policy credentials, claiming to be the most experienced of the lot. He served on the Senate Armed Services committee, authored legislation on Syria and, according to this aide, "has focused in radical Islam."

    The aide points out that in public polls, foreign policy has moved up the food chain of important issues from back in the pack to the front.
    And of course, Santorum will try to appeal to evangelicals in much the same way he did last time, with an economic twist.
    "He will fight for the stability of the family," said the aide. "There is a relationship between economics and families."
    This time, the race will not come down to two men, as it did last time. There are almost as many wings as candidates --the establishment, tea party, libertarian and social conservatives.
    But one reminder, per Santorum's adviser: "Rick won more counties last time than all the other candidates combined."
    Even so, he did not go on to win the nomination. Then again, Republicans who win Iowa often don't.