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Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum will officially launch his presidential bid next Monday, June 6th. Santorum has begun a tour in anticipation of his announcement which began in western Pennsylvania.

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Report from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Sen. Rick Santorum plans to formally enter the GOP presidential race next month, starting his bid in the western Pennsylvania coal fields where his immigrant grandfather once worked, advisers said Thursday.

On his Facebook page, Santorum said that he will announce his next steps on June 6 and then scheduled visits to the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Advisers confirmed that he was running, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make the announcement official before Santorum does.

They said the 53-year-old former senator wanted to use the Pennsylvania location to launch his candidacy because of its ties to his family, especially his Italian immigrant grandfather who worked in the coal mines. Santorum, whose campaign speeches routinely cite his family’s heritage and embrace of the American dream, was likely to continue those themes when he formalized what observers have anticipated for months.

Santorum already has taken steps toward a full-fledged campaign, forming an presidential exploratory committee and participating in an early debate that drew few of the likely candidates. He has spent months aggressively campaigning in the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He also has hired veterans of past presidential runs.

While the two-term senator lacks the name recognition of his better-known rivals, he is a favorite among the social conservatives who hold sway in some early nominating contests.

Santorum performed well in the first Republican debate, however, he’ll have a tough time on the national stage garnering positive attention given his strong stance on conservative social issues. This isn’t to say others in the race don’t have similar views since they most certainly do, however, social issues are a centerpiece of Santorum’s platform.

That being said, the field remains wide open.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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