Santorum poised to enter GOP presidential contest

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SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) -- Former Sen. Rick Santorum is set to formally announce he is seeking his Republican Party's presidential nomination.

Santorum planned to join the slow-to-form GOP field with an announcement on Monday from western Pennsylvania's coal fields where his Italian immigrant grandfather worked. Santorum has been laying the groundwork for the expected bid with frequent visits to the states that hold the first nominating contests. He also has hired a staff that has national campaign experience.

Santorum was weighing a presidential bid when he failed to win re-election to the Senate in 2006. The former No. 3 Republican in the Senate has spent the years since at a Washington think tank.

Santorum's strong anti-abortion stance could help rally social conservatives who have yet to pick a candidate.