WASHINGTON, D.C., January 9, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has won a groundswell of support following his stunning finish in the Iowa caucuses last Monday.

As of Friday, Santorum had raised $2 million - $1 million of that in one day - after his photo finish, a mere eight votes behind Mitt Romney. The money came too late to buy media time in New Hampshire, where Romney is expected to win this week’s primary by a double-digit margin. Santorum polls in third place behind Romney and Ron Paul.

But the funds leave Santorum in a better position to campaign in South Carolina, where his social conservatism is a better fit for the electorate. A Rasmussen poll shows Santorum has soared from one percent two weeks ago to 24 percent Friday, placing him within the margin of error for first place in the state.

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CatholicVote.org endorsed Santorum on Thursday. “Catholic voters are looking for a candidate who can successfully combine the principles of the dignity of life and the dignity of work,” CatholicVote President Brian Burch said in a statement. “Senator Santorum understands better than any other candidate the profound link between the moral, cultural and economic principles foundational to the success of America.”

The candidate received a major boost from Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born multi-billionaire whose media empire includes Fox News Channel and the Wall Street Journal, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. Murdoch tweeted, “Good to see santorum [sic.] surging in Iowa.” He followed up, “Can’t resist this tweet, but all Iowans think about Rick Santorum. Only candidate with genuine big vision for country.”

At the same time Jim-Bob Duggar of television’s “19 Kids and Counting” told Iowa caucus voters, “This is the family values candidate.”

Far from shying away from what many term divisive wedge issues, Santorum has campaigned as a champion of faith and family. He supports the life of the unborn without reservation. He drew cheers in the first Republican debate last August when by defending the humanity of a child conceived by rape. “One violence is enough,” he said.

He also recently told a student from a Christian college that legalizing homosexual “marriage” would force schools to teach children that homosexuality is no different than heterosexuality, and has repeatedly defended traditional marriage. He has also blasted the “privatization of faith.”  “At the heart of conservatism, at the heart of any successful conservative government, is a strong family, is a strong faith community. Without those two things, freedom as we know it in America simply cannot exist,” he said.