Conservatives: Time to rally around a not-Romney

January 5, 2012 - 4:37 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON — Conservative leaders say it's time to rally behind a single Republican presidential candidate — and fast — to prevent Mitt Romney from winning the GOP nomination.

The former Massachusetts governor narrowly won the Iowa caucuses after conservatives split their support among Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Now, some conservative leaders are talking about a group endorsement before the South Carolina primary Jan. 21. Any challenger to Romney must win that primary to survive.

But the leaders remain divided over whether to back Santorum, Gingrich or Perry. Meanwhile, Romney is heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

The candidates are set for a pair of debates over the weekend.