Romney makes giant Pa ad buy

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The Mitt Romney campaign is making a multi-million broadcast TV ad buy Pennsylvania in an attempt to snuff out Rick Santorum's presidential challenge for good, reports PoliticsPA. The spots start Monday everywhere but Pittsburgh, then come into Santorum's former home town in the week leading up to the April 24 primary.

His SuperPAC is already on cable (ie, Fox News). The campaign's more-expensive broadcast TV buy includes almost 6,000 gross ratings points in the Erie market, nearly 5,000 around Johnstown and more than 3,000 around Philadelphia.

From PP's Keegan Gibson:

Chris Nicholas is a GOP campaign veteran who has bought statewide TV time in multiple states over the past decade, including Pennsylvania. He said the buy is enormous.

“This is an incredible amount of points in two weeks,” he said. “I’ve never bought more than 1,500 a week.”

Industry shorthand suggests that for every 100 GRP, the average viewer sees an ad once. That means the average Erie resident will see a Romney ad 59 times in the next two weeks.


The trail goes through Harrisburg

Published by Karen Langley on .

Finally, the road to the White House passes through Harrisburg. A few images from the GOP campaign trail this week -- at least the portion that went within a few miles of the Capitol newsroom.

On a rooftop in downtown Harrisburg:Romney_on_roof


And at a Mechanicsburg bowling alley:Santo_at_bowl


Photos: Langley iPhone


Santorum daughter hospitalized

Published by James O'Toole on .

Rick Santorum's 3-year-old daughter, Isabella, who suffers from the genetic disorder, trisomy 18, is being hospitalized. The campaign released the following statement:

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: "Rick and his wife Karen have taken their daughter Bella to the hospital. The family requests prayers and privacy as Bella works her way to recovery."

The campaign released no other details. Mr. Santorum briefly interrupted his campaigning in January when Bella was hospitalized for pneumonia. There was no other word on his daughter's condition or how it might affect his campaign schedule. He had no events planned in the next few days due to the Easter holiday.

Mitt Romney, said, in a message posted on Twitter, "Praying for a quick recovery for Bella. Ann and are keeping Rick, Karen, and the entire Santorum family in our thoughts.''


Daily Santorum: The Crash

Published by Tim McNulty on .


There was a promise of no more Daily Santorum updates this week, but just a couple links anyway for the guy who's staring down the second-worst bout of publicity in the nation this week (Pitt doesn't seem so bad now, does it Jeff Long?)

Jim O'Toole has the poll roundup and Laura Olson has the first (of many we imagine) Romney natural gas/fracking pressers.

After you finish Robert Costa's look at the Pa landscape here's a valedictory from Walter Shapiro at the New Republic:

More than any presidential candidate since maybe Gary Hart in 1984, Santorum vindicated the quixotic dreamers who struggle on despite invisible poll ratings, tin-cup financing, and the dismissive wisecracks from political insiders. Santorum was a throw-back candidate—not only with his 1950s social values, but also in his forged-by-necessity embrace of the most old-fashioned way of running for president. In Iowa, where he made his move in the polls only two weeks before the January 3 caucuses, Santorum campaigned everywhere, responded at (sometimes tedious) length to every voter question, and cheerfully deflected skeptical press queries like the one I posed to him in mid-December: “Some days, don’t you get discouraged?”

Romney will reach into his deep wallet and start the Pa air war Monday (Politico)

On the other hand, Santorum's SuperPAC is staying out of the state so far (The Hill)

Brutal lede from Marc Levy ("kicked" "sour" "fading") at the AP.


NRO: Romney has a Pa path in Toomey

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Awesome Pennsylvania politics story today from Robert Costa at The National Review showing why Mitt Romney has a chance to deliver the knockout to Rick Santorum (the populous Philly collar counties should beat Santorum's vote to the west), and why Santorum's message is out of step with the state's GOP electorate.

On Romney's edge in Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties:

Three Republican congressmen with flinty, independent personalities — Mike Fitzpatrick, Pat Meehan, and Jim Gerlach — represent districts in this critical slice of the Keystone State. While Santorum has the support of a few House members elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Romney’s identification with this southeastern trio, in terms of his politics and sensibility, will be a bigger factor.

During the 2010 midterms, over 300,000 Republicans voted in the aforementioned three counties. In the scattered bucolic outposts that constitute Santorum Country, it was not unusual to see GOP turnout hover around 15,000 per county. Greater Pittsburgh saw over 200,000 Republicans show up, but even that metropolitan area was dwarfed by the Philadelphia suburbs, which remain the principal battleground.

On why Pat Toomey -- not 2004 Arlen Specter supporter Santorum -- is the real face of the state's GOP:

Toomey, now a senator, is a prime example of the kind of conservative that is now a winner in the Pennsylvania GOP. He is a former business owner, a fiscal hawk, and a social conservative, but he doesn’t lead with the latter. He is connected with tea-party groups, but his Wall Street ties, supply-side economic politics, and soft-spoken nature make him more than an anti-establishment outsider. Toomey 2012 has more in common with Romney 2012 than with Toomey 2004, the unsuccessful Senate challenger.

When Toomey won his Senate seat in 2010, he concentrated heavily on the economy. Toomey has working-class, Catholic roots but he did not emphasize his biography. He ran against Washington, but not necessarily against the Republican establishment.  To win in Pennsylvania, he told me at a Lancaster, Pa., greasy spoon, you need to win across the suburban spectrum, not only within your base. “Those voters are not ideological; they’re practical,” he said. “They know that you can’t borrow and spend your way to prosperity.”