Rick Santorum is a contender in Iowa.

Following speculation that the former Pennsylvania senator was poised for a surge, a string of recent polls confirms Santorum is moving in the right direction at just the right time. The presidential candidate told Fox News on Thursday he’s looking to defy expectations next week, and turn around a campaign that until now was practically tied for last place.

“I’ve always said that the people of Iowa are going to give me the spark, and that’s what I believe is happening right now,” Santorum told Fox News.

After a poll Wednesday showed Santorum suddenly moving into third position in Iowa, a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday showed the same line-up. The poll showed Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in a dead heat, with 23 and 22 percent respectively, and Santorum in third with 16 percent.

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