The Santorum camp is doing its best to push back on the impression that his presidential run is going down the tubes.
Santorum also is looking at Arizona and Michigan, states that vote at the end of February — if he makes it that far.
His inner circle of advisers is looking at the campaign checkbook. They say they can keep a lean campaign rolling in case Gingrich or Romney implode.
"This race is just starting. It's a three-man race," Santorum insists. "We're going to be in this race for the long term."
For now, at least, polls show Santorum dramatically trailing in Florida, the largest and most diverse state in the early nominating schedule. And he seems to be coming up short as he tries to win over voters with his everyman persona.
The WashPost has a similar pre-mortem story. (That's their photo above.)
But fret not, for as usual conservative beltway blogger Jennifer Rubin has a Santorum silver lining. Just think: Gingrich's performance at last night's debate was so lackluster, and goes so far to clinch a Romney win in Fla, that maybe, just maybe it'll all come down to a race between just Romney and Santorum. She writes:
There was some question as to whether Santorum would be able to build on his success in Iowa. He now has set himself up to do that and to show the right that conservatism is more than attitude. As a smart and articulate proponent of conservatism with an interesting twist on traditional free-market economics, he’ll be a welcomed alternative to the Newtonian politics of outrage, anger and self-delusion.
Then this funding scooplet from the WSJ -- billionaire financial backer Foster Friess of Wyoming still plans to pay for TV ads for Santorum, just not in Florida. And he'll be back in the embrace of Pennsylvania come Monday, when he holds a fundraiser and meets reporters in West Chester.
After Justice Max Baer tells Capitolwire this afternoon that, 1) an opinion is coming in a week or so; 2) that it will cite “the splitting of too many counties, cities, wards and districts” as unconstitutional; and 3) this year's elections should plan on following the 2001 lines; he raised the ire of the State Republican Committee.
Those public comments, prior to the court issuing its majority opinion, are inappropriate and in violation of both the state Constitution and judicial canon, according to a release from the State Republican Party.
The GOP's scathing critique:
“While the rest of Pennsylvania anxiously awaits the Court’s opinion on redistricting, Justice Baer decided to provide his own commentary on the matter, violating both Judicial Canon and the Pennsylvania Constitution in the process. The fact that a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge would make politically-motivated comments to the press on a pending court proceeding is absolutely outrageous, especially since the court’s official opinion on the matter has not yet been released. Justice Baer’s comments are more than just an abdication of his judicial responsibilities; they are in direct contravention of both the Pennsylvania Code of Judicial Conduct and the Pennsylvania Constitution. Justice Bear should be reprimanded for his poor judgment and recuse himself from any judicial activity related to this matter.”
For the wonks, here's the sections they cite:
Canon 3 (A)(6) provides:
“Judges should abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in any court, and should require similar abstention on the part of court personnel subject to their direction and control. This subsection does not prohibit judges from making public statements in the course of their official duties or from explaining for public information the procedures of the court.”
(Code of Conduct For Employees of the Unified Judicial System. Accessed 1/26/2012)
Article V, § 17. Prohibited activities
(b) Justices and judges shall not engage in any activity prohibited by law and shall not violate any canon of legal or judicial ethics prescribed by the Supreme Court. Justices of the peace shall be governed by rules or canons which shall be prescribed by the Supreme Court.
(Pennsylvania Constitution. Accessed 1/26/2012)
It looks like -- though it's not official -- that Democrats may get what they wanted and the old, 2001 state legislative lines will be used this year.
The state Supreme Court won't issue an order on the proposed 2012 lines til sometime next week, so time is running out to fix them in time for the April 24 ballot, and candidates are already circulating the petitions that kickoff the process.
From the AP:
By MARK SCOLFORO
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court says the four-justice majority opinion that lays out why they invalidated new legislative district maps won’t be issued before next week.
Deputy court administrator Tom Darr said Thursday that the written opinion is a least several days away, but the justices realize it’s important that they release it quickly.
State lawmakers, potential candidates and political strategists are trying to determine what’s next after the bombshell decision announced late Wednesday.
A three-week period to gather signatures to get on the ballot is under way. The court says current state House and Senate district lines remain in place until a valid new map is approved.
It’s unclear whether the Legislative Reapportionment Commission will produce a new map in time for the April primary.
Don't miss P-G columnist Brian O'Neill on the small but significant steps the House took this week toward cutting 50 of its seats. Brian takes down all the arguments against the plan, starting with the usual complaint that it would water down the constituent's voice in Harrisburg:
Here's how to counter the three following arguments against downsizing:
1. "It would limit the people's access to representatives."
We'd still have 153 full-time state reps and 50 state senators if we, the people, approve this downsizing. That's still a big statehouse.
Pennsylvania is compared below to its peers, states with at least 10 million people. The first column is the number of representatives in the lower House, the second is the number of people each state lawmaker represents. I'll use the hypothetical, leaner figure of 153 representatives for Pennsylvania and rank the states accordingly.
California 80 465,674
Texas 150 167,637
Florida 120 156,678
New York 150 129,187
Ohio 99 116,530
Illinois 118 108,734
Pennsylvania 153 83,022
So, even after a downsizing, Pennsylvania would have the most lawmakers among the seven largest states and ours would represent the fewest constituents. Lawmakers in Arizona, New Jersey and Michigan also would continue representing more people, but why pad the list? The point is we would hardly be switching from a mansion to a condo.
For what it's worth, Republicans are setting themselves up as the reformers on the issue and Democrats the old-guard. The 16-8 committee vote broke mostly on party lines.
- Daily Santorum: Pulling up Fla stakes
- Supremes to-do list: finish opinion, board plane?
- Redistricting reax
- F&M poll: Obama struggles, but leads Rs
- PA Supremes reject state lines
- Rothfus gets Toomey nod
- Murphy launches reelect Thurs
- Gastgeb going for Pippy seat
- Rendell slams food-stamp asset test
- Daily Santorum: Blue collar pitch