Therefore, as of now, I am stepping down as the statewide co chairman for Newt Gingrich and throwing all of my support behind Rick Santorum. Going with me are the top 3 second congressional district delegates for Newt (Dr. Leonard Brown, Dr. Aaron Margulise and Scott Smith).I know that this was a tough decision for Stacey, and I am not just saying that because it is the polite and politick thing to say, I am saying it because I really do know. I've known Stacey personally for years, and I consider him to be one of my best friends, and he is certainly the best friend I have in the politics of this State-he has stood with me and stood up for me and behind me when no one else would. He is a real champion of the conservative movement if there ever was one in Tennessee.
Stacey called me Thursday to let me know that he was considering this switch. He said that Rick had called him personally, and they dealt with scenarios and with political realities. Stacey said he really enjoyed his talk with Rick, and said he felt that Rick had a real strategy in place to win. When I talked to Stacey, though, he still hadn't made his decision. He's a loyalist to the bone whose word is known to be his bond. He didn't want to seem like he was betraying a commitment that he had made. I reminded him of words he had once said to me: "Politics is a cruel and expensive mistress, and when the votes aren't there, you just have to move on." He repeated part of that in his blog post announcing his decision. It is a reality that any of us who have ever been involved in political campaigns have had to deal with at some point, and it is always a hard one, especially when it is confronting a candidate that you believe deeply in.
I shared with Stacey why I feel the way I do about Rick, of course, but I didn't try to persuade him, only offered my help in any way I could to help make it a smooth transition if he did decide to switch. "I can only offer you one word of advice," I told him, "do the right thing."
He, Dr. Brown, Dr. Marguilise, and Mr. Smith made their choice for the good of the Republican Party and the country.