What's a Rick Santorum delegate to do?

August 27, 2012

For a conservative from far southern Illinois, Sharee Langenstein sounds surprisingly proud to have voted for some Democrats in her lifetime.

"There have been a time or two where I have crossed over," Langenstein said. "I can say that I have never voted for a governor who has ended up in prison."

For president, though, Langenstein started out supporting someone more like her this election cycle. Professionally, she’s an adoption lawyer in downstate Murphysboro. And at home, she and her husband have six daughters.

So Langenstein says her focus on family is partly what made her run in March’s primary to be a delegate for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

"Everybody is concerned about the economy and the budget and jobs and things like that," she said. "But there are other things that Republicans have traditionally stood for. And I think it’s very important that we continue to stand for those things."

Like Santorum, Langenstein is an anti-abortion, fiscally conservative Catholic. And like Santorum, she now finds herself supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.

Santorum dropped out weeks after the Illinois primary. But for Langenstein, the transition to supporting Romney wasn’t easy.

"There are certain things in his past where he was more in the center that were definitely of concern to me earlier in the campaign," she said, pointing to the state health care law passed while Romney was Massachusetts’ governor.

That law is similar to President Obama’s federal health care law that’s so often bashed by the GOP. Both include a mandate to buy health insurance.

Nonetheless, Langenstein says she finally decided she could trust Romney.

"Everybody changes and grows," she said. "There’s different things in his past that he doesn’t necessarily adhere to now. I believe very firmly that he is going to make good on his promises....and I’m willing to give him that chance."

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