Santorum gets a vote, but no endorsement, from Alabama governor

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on March 13, 2012, tweeted a picture of himself, his wife and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley after learning that Bentley voted for him. Twitter

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has in the days leading up to today's Alabama and Mississippi primaries played down expectations for his performances in the two southern states.

Tuesday, however, the former senator boasted of getting a key vote: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's.

Santorum tweeted a picture of himself with the governor, along with the message, "Honored to learn this morning on @rickandbubba that AL Gov. @GovernorBentley cast his vote for me and joined the fight!" His campaign also put out a press release to announce the governor's support for his campaign.

Bentley's support could have been helpful ahead of primary day, given that the most recent poll shows a close race in Alabama with Santorum trailing Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. However, the governor clarified that his vote was not technically an endorsement.

Bentley wrote on his Facebook page that he views Santorum as "the most conservative candidate" in the primary but that he's chosen not to endorse anyone.

"I believe a vote is a personal decision that should be based on a voter's values and principles, not on someone else's opinion," he wrote. "The Republican primary features a strong pool of candidates, and I will fully support the Republican nominee chosen by the people."

Most Republican officials, including Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, have chosen to support Romney over Santorum.

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