1:09pm

Thu March 1, 2012
Tenn. GOP Leadership Backing Romney

MTSU Poll Gives Santorum Commanding Lead in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT)  Presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he’s undaunted that most Tennessee Republican leaders have chosen not to endorse him for the nomination. 

The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania told reporters after a speech at the Temple Baptist Church in Powell Wednesday that as the "insurgent candidate," he doesn't expect to draw the support of GOP establishment.

But Santorum expressed confidence he will carry Tennessee and other states holding their primaries on Super Tuesday.

A poll conducted by Middle Tennessee State University suggests Santorum has good reason to be confident. Released yesterday, the poll shows 40 percent of Tennessee Republicans supporting Santorum and 19 percent supporting Romney.

Romney's Tennessee supporters include Gov. Bill Haslam and state House Speaker Beth Harwell among others.