Corbett adviser to run Santorum's PA campaign

Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign Tuesday named top-tier Republican operative Brian Nutt, the longtime adviser to Gov. Corbett, to head its primary effort in Pennsylvania.

The April 24 primary is shaping up as a crucial showdown for Santorum in the state he represented for 16 years in the House and Senate, a chance for him to gain ground as the conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney, who has amassed a lead in convention delegaqtes.

“Rick Santorum has been a strong, consistent conservative leader for not just Pennsylvania, but our entire country,” Nutt said in a statement. “I have seen Rick Santorum’s leadership first-hand.  Senator Santorum stood up when many would back down.  He is a fighter, and exactly what our country needs right now.  I am excited to join his team and help him win his fifth race in Pennsylvania.”

The appointment came as the Romney campaign planned Tuesday afternoon to unveil some big-name endorsements at  the Capitol in Harrisburg, including U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Bill Shuster, as well as local and tea party leaders from around Pennsylvania. (Gov. Corbett has not endorsed in the race.)

“There are few in Pennsylvania politics with Brian’s resume, acumen and skill,” Santorum said. Nutt ran Corbett’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign and his two successful runs for attorney general, and served as the chief of staff for the transition last year.

He now works as a strategist with BrabenderCox, the firm headed by John Brabender, the nationally recognized GOP media strategist who is Santorum's top adviser.