Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rick's on a Roll

Santorum wins two southern states and holds a huge lead in PA primary; stay tuned because it's starting to look like this ain't over.

Rick's on a Roll

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Rick Santorum is having what you just might call a very good day.

Not only did he win two southern states last night with primary victories in Alabama and Mississippi, a new Quinnipiac University Poll out this morning has him crushing Mitt Romney in the April 24 Pennsylvania primary.

The poll has Santorum 36-22 over Romney with Ron Paul at 12 percent and Harrisburg-born Newt Gingrich at a mere 8 percent.

This represents a radical shift since the last Q Poll here in just a few months ago.

“Pennsylvania Republicans are turning to their native son, former Sen. Rick Santorum.  The last time we surveyed the Keystone State, during the Gingrich boomlet in December, the former House Speaker led the GOP pack with 31 percent, followed by Gov. Mitt Romney with 17 percent and Santorum with 9 percent,” said Tim Malloy, assistant poll director.

The poll also shows Santorum in a statistical tie with President Obama in Pennsylvania. If Rick was the GOP nominee and the presidential election was today, the numbers are Obama 45, Santorum 44.

No question lots can happen between now and April 24 and even moreso between now and November. But it's clear that Santorum, with comparatively limited resources but apparently unlimited drive, is making Mitt look less "inevitable" with each passing primary.

Meanwhile, Gov. Corbett remains coy about endorsing Rick or anyone before the state's primary, even though the Guv's former campaign manager was just named Rick's PA manager. In fact, Corbett stressed at a news conference yesterday that no one should read anything into the fact Santorum just hired Brian Nutt.

Perhaps as a counterweight to Rick's roll, the Romney campaign this morning announced Mitt's being backed by former Gov. Tom Ridge.

Here's what Ridge said about Mitt in a statement released by the Romney campaign.

"Given the economic problems that America faces, including Pennsylvania, where high unemployment continues to cause such hardship, his experience turning around failing enterprises makes him precisely what the country needs. I’m proud to endorse Mitt’s candidacy and will work hard to help him recapture the White House this coming November.”

I've never believed one pol publicly endorsing another carries much weight with voters, but then I never believed Santorum would be where he is today.

 

 

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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