Skip to comments.Santorum might drop out rather than lose Pennsylvania primary (Losing would end political career)
Posted on 04/04/2012 10:44:07 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The possibility of a loss in his home state of Pennsylvania might force Rick Santorum to drop out of the Republican primary sooner than hed planned, say GOP strategists.
Santorum is notoriously strong-willed, and those close to him say that party elders will not be able to convince him to exit the race if he thinks he has a shot at the Republican nomination.
But one of Santorums close friends told The Hill that while the former Pennsylvania senator remains confident about winning his home state and using that to build May momentum, if that confidence falters, he might exit the race. Pennsylvania state Sen. Jake Corman (R), a longtime friend of Santorum and his family, said if it appeared Santorum wasnt going to win the state, the former senator could drop his campaign. Hes a realist; he doesnt have his head in the clouds, Corman told The Hill. As long as he sees a pathway to the nomination hes going to stay in it, but he wont stay in it to prove a point. If he gets to the point where he doesnt think hell be the nominee, hell get out.
Santorum is running second in the delegate count to rival Mitt Romney, and the party establishment is increasing pressure on the former senator to exit the race and clear a path for the former Massachusetts governor.
And while he led Romney by six points in a Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania voters out Tuesday, that was before Romneys win in Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Its also a decline for the former senator, who led Romney by double digits earlier this month.
Many Republican strategists argue that Santorum has resurrected his political career after a bad 2006 Senate loss with his surprisingly strong presidential campaign but that another loss in his home state could undo all that work, leading to predictions that if he thinks he could lose Pennsylvania, he might bow out.
If he loses Pennsylvania twice, thats going to really hobble him in the future. Thatd be very hard to live down, said Kirsten Fedewa, Mike Huckabees 2008 communications director.
Fedewa speculated that Santorum may be encountering what Huckabee faced near the end of his campaign.
Theres a point on the campaign trail where you start seeing diminishing returns, thinner crowds, youre not getting the big boost on your website fundraising, the enthusiasm factor is dying down, she said. Hes going to be feeling it on the stump and seeing the impact on his campaign. Hes an anti-establishment candidate, so what the establishment does or doesn't do isnt going to persuade him but when he sees the intensity factor waning, thats going to weigh heavily.
Santorum is campaigning hard in his home state. The last two primary nights hes held his post-election rallies in Pennsylvania. Hes scheduled to spend Wednesday campaigning there.
The former senator has insisted hell stay in the race through the April 24 primaries that include Pennsylvania as well as a number of states friendly to Romney: New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware, and fight on through May, when the map includes a number of states where Santorum could be in good shape.
But Romney is not going to cede Pennsylvania. His campaign sent full-time staffers to the state last week and he will stump there Wednesday. A super-PAC that backs him has made inquiries about the costs of television buys in the state and has indicated it will make a large buy there soon, according to local sources.
Romney also has the endorsement of four Pennsylvania lawmakers one more than Santorums three, according to The Hills tally.
On top of that, Santorums fundraising might have slowed to a trickle as his star has faded and if he continues his campaign, there could be severe backlash from establishment Republicans that might limit his future role in the party.
The biggest problem for Santorum is theres a three-week lull, no way to break the media narrative that Romney has this sewn up and a continued race will only hurt the nominee, Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak told The Hill on Monday. Santorums desperately trying to survive until May when does the pressure become too much?
PoliticsPA managing editor Keegan Gibson said many of the attacks Romney has leveled against Santorum have even more resonance in Pennsylvania: his endorsement of centrist former Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) over now-Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in their 2004 primary and his move from Pennsylvania to the Washington, D.C., suburbs with his family. Santorums going Washington was a major attack line from Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) when he beat Santorum in 2006.
Another factor: Some of Toomeys Tea Party backers remain angry at Santorum for his 2004 endorsement of Specter. Toomey himself has not endorsed Santorum, but recently praised Romney as a conservative who will govern as a conservative.
At a recent conservative confab in the state, Santorum was received politely but not raucously, and failed to garner a majority of the conferences straw poll vote.
Former Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), a Romney backer who managed Santorums first House race in 1990, called the results stunning.
Hes done nothing to repair the damage that was created in the lead-up to 2006, and a lot of it was self-inflicted, said English, who praised Santorum for his strong campaign but warned that if he continued to run the GOP establishment might blackball him in the future, which could severely limit his influence within the party.
I supported Rick Santorum every time he ran for office and was thrilled he did as well as he did
but Rick Santorum has already effectively lost the nomination, he said. The question becomes, does he have any role in the future of the party?
I still think Santorum is and always has been in this thing with Romney.
What political career would that be?
He’s one of the foremost spineless RINOs.
I tend to agree. If he loses his home state for the second consecutive time, he will have no chance in 2016 (not that he does anyway).
Maybe he will drop out and give Newt a boost.
My point exactly. Rick’s Pennsylvania career ended the day he was electorally wiped out by that ambulatory vegetable named Bob Casey.
Personally I think Rick would make a dandy appointment to the SCOTUS. Give those Democrat Senators a severe case of heartburn over their whole “Senatorial Courtesty” thing.
More Romneyite nonsense...
I still think Santorum is and always has been in this thing with Romney.
And the 1969 Moon walk was staged in New Mexico.... never happened.
(Do I really need the sarc. tag?)
Ricky, say you will, just say you will.
Isn’t his career already over anyway if he transparently drops out to avoid said career-crushing loss in PA? I think the guy has to stay in through PA at this point.
i really am perplexed by the anti-Rick comments by the anti-Mitts.
i’d like to see mitt lose PA NC IN WV and Rs is the only one to beat him right now. Look at the MAY calendar. Could be a struggle for mitt ... through TX.
Comments like these are the same sorts of things that were used against Sarah Palin. Most of them could be traced back to Team Romney then.
Sarah Palin needs to be the ‘12 GOP POTUS candidate, so that all of this “madness and frustration for all conservatives, everywhere” can, finally, end! Please, and Thank You!
Buckeye....I like how you think. And this is the second time I have heard this suggestion, and I think it’s brilliant.
newt is done. Santourum is finished. It’s over. Romney will simply have to do.
I disagree. Mike DeWine of Ohio provides an excellent blueprint for what could have been for Santorum's future. DeWine lost his U. S. Senate seat in 2006, but was elected OH Attorney General two years later. If Santorum has run for PA Attorney General this year, I have little doubt that he would be elected. These type of elections in PA tend to be low-key affairs, and Santorum's name ID would have been hard to beat.
No, no, no! Palin for Energy Secretary!!! Drill, baby, drill!!!
And for the record, I would like to see Ron Paul in charge of the Fed. Newt Secretary of State. Lt. Col. West as Veep....(in a Santorum administration)!!!