It seems the theory that Idaho would be more important if the state moved up its presidential primary is coming true.
Rick Santorum made stops in Coeur d?Alene and Boise on Tuesday. The former Pennsylvania senator rallied in front of more than 4,000 supporters at Capital High School.
Santorum got the night started by addressing what he calls the serious threat of Iran and how his foreign policy experience will help him deal with a country that poses a nuclear threat.
Then Santorum turned his attention to President Barack Obama. He took dead aim at the president?s handling of the country?s budget and debt crisis.
?In four years, he?s going to add over $5 trillion to the national debt. We are going to be in a huge problem. And we are just twiddling our thumbs with this president. He?s ignoring it.?
He also took several questions from the crowd who gave Santorum several standing ovations during the speech.
Idaho Treasurer Ron Crane threw his support behind Santorum while introducing him. He said Santorum's plan to fix the economy, balance the budget, and emphasis on family values and religious faith are what prompted him to back Santorum. Crane is the first high-ranking official in the Gem State to publicly support Santorum. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Senator Jim Risch have endorsed Mitt Romney.
Otter and Risch held a tele-conference Tuesday to talk with reporters about their support for Romney.
?Quite frankly, I think Idaho loves Mitt Romney,? Otter said.
?I am confident that Mitt Romney will take all of the votes in Idaho,? Risch said.
The former Massachusetts governor plans to visit Boise on Friday. He will hold private fundraisers and one public rally. Ron Paul will make his way to Twin Falls on Thursday.
The candidates are battling it out in the Gem State for 32 delegates that will be awarded in the state?s first-ever GOP caucus. That?s more delegates than Iowa and South Carolina combined.
Santorum continues to surge in the polls. In one new national poll, Santorum has a two-point lead over Romney. Another shows Santorum jumped 14 points in less than one week. Another poll shows something troubling for the Romney camp. He trails Santorum in three critical voting blocks: Tea Partiers, Conservatives and Evangelicals.
Even with a lot at stake in Idaho, there are no candidate visits planned in eastern Idaho. Shirley Richey, of Idaho Falls, thinks the candidates should visit our side of the state.
?If someone would be willing to take the time out of their campaign to come campaign to us and kind of give us a reason why we should vote them for president, I think it would give them a lot more pull.?
But Tory Landon doesn?t think visits by presidential candidates are that important.
?It doesn't really matter to me,? he said. ?I've already made up my mind who I'm voting for, the candidates, the platform they stand on."
You can watch Santorum's entire speech from Boise below, courtesy of KBOI 2News.