Rick Santorum (born May 10, 1958), commonly known as Rick Santorum, is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the United States. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 from a suburban Pittsburgh district and to the U.S. Senate in 1994. Santorum is a Republican and is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the number-three job in the party leadership of the Senate. As Conference Chairman, Santorum directs the communications operations of Senate Republicans and is a frequent party spokesperson. He is the youngest member of the Senate leadership and the first Pennsylvanian to hold such a prominent position since Senator Hugh Scott was Republican leader in the 1970s. In addition, Santorum serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee; the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Senate Special Committee on Aging; and the Senate Finance Committee, of which he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy.
Santorum is well known for his conservative social and fiscal stances, and many describe him as the Senate's most outspoken Christian fundamentalist. In recent years, Santorum's comments and public statements, particularly on homosexuality and sexual privacy rights. As is such, he is very unpopular with GLBT Pennsylvanians. Other unpopular beliefs which are opposed by a majority of Pennsylvania voters include those on Social Security, intelligent design, and the Terri Schiavo case.
He is running for re-election in the 2006 U.S. Senate election. He is widely believed to be one of the weakest incumbents in the Senate, due to the unpopularity of the President and of the emerging candidacy of the son of former Pennsylvania governor, Bob Casey. Some also believe that he may be too conservative for Pennsylvania, which is a swing state that has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate in almost twenty years.