Rick Santorum can’t keep up the fight against Mitt Romney with momentum alone: He needs cash and organization.

Santorum may have found his best shot at both in a secretive club of some of the right’s richest and most powerful players. Its members have been credited with solidifying the rise of George W. Bush’s Republican presidential campaign in 2000 and working to undercut the 2008 bids of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

And, last weekend, when conservative bigwigs gathered in Houston for a meeting of the Council for National Policy, they helped raise $1.8 million in pledged donations for Santorum’s cash-strapped campaign and the super PAC supporting it. They also talked about how to mobilize their networks to help the former Pennsylvania senator’s surging campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

But the support is coming late in the game, raising the question of whether the potential infusion of money and grass-roots resources is enough to carry him through contests on the horizon in big states like California and New Jersey.

“Hopefully, this will just be the first of a number of these types of events where the conservative movement leaders are coming together and saying ‘this is our man,’” said Richard Viguerie, a founding member of the Council for National Policy and an organizer of the main fundraiser for Santorum, on the sidelines of the Houston meeting.

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