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Daily Santorum: Not very metal

Published by Tim McNulty on .

The good news and bad news continues for Rick Santorum's zombie-like GOP presidential run. Bad news first:

The organizational failures that lost him delegates in Ohio and Virginia Tuesday will repeat themselves in Washington D.C., where he won't compete April 3 for any of its 16 available, or in Illinois March 20, where he can't get 10 of the 54 available. (ABC News)

And even if Newt Gingrich drops out of the race (perhaps if he performs poorly in Alabama and Mississippi) it won't guarantee Santorum can challenge Mitt Romney. Nate Silver at the NYT says Romney would get some of Gingrich's supporters too:

It would undoubtedly still help Mr. Santorum if Mr. Gingrich dropped out — especially if Mr. Gingrich endorsed Mr. Santorum and asked his delegates to vote for him. In fact, the combined total of Santorum and Gingrich delegates right now is quite similar to the number that we calculate Mr. Santorum would have won without Mr. Gingrich in the race.

But that would be just the first step for Mr. Santorum — at best, a necessary but not sufficient condition for a comeback. He’ll need to find some further means by which he can eat into Mr. Romney’s coalition, and he’ll need to do so in a hurry since 21 states have already voted.

The latest Rasmussen national poll has him down to Romney 39-27% with Gingrich at 17%.

And then there's the decidedly non-Megadethy video above. (Sample lyrics: There will be Justice for the Unborn/ Factories back on our Shores/ Where the Constitution rules our land/ Yes, I Believe/Rick Santorum is our Man!). From Colby Itkowitz at the Morning Call:

Oklahoma sisters Camille and Haley Harris, who notably were not born when Ronald Reagan was president, made a music video in time for Super Tuesday with a chorus that begins: "Oh, there is hope for our nation again, Maybe the first time since we had Ronald Reagan."

. . . On YouTube, the Harrises write that they met the Santorums in Tulsa and decided to write up a little ditty to show their support. The song includes verses: "Faithful to his wife and seven kids, He'll be loyal to our land and "He's got the plan to lower taxes, raise morale, to put the power in our hands."

To the good:

It's been happening slowly for months now, but all of the attention Santorum's been getting has solved his Google Problem (at least, dropping the nasty results to number 3 third). Attention, you say? His surprising rise atop the Ohio results for a few hours Tuesday gave him a new Twitter 2012 election record, when he was referenced 40,000 times between 9-10 p.m.

And no matter what happens to Santorum this year, and despite his message pratfalls, he is forging a new template for Republicans tying middle class family woes to those about the economy, writes the NYT's Ross Douthat in a thoughtful piece:

But the main domestic argument that he’s tried to make – about the link between family breakdown and economic disarray — has more relevance to the challenges facing Americans in the early 21st century than the Reagan nostalgia that too often passes for policy thinking from the party’s tax cutting and foreign policy hawks. Ours is increasingly a country where sky-high economic expectations coexist with middle class wage stagnation, and where the idealization of married life coexists with steadily rising out-of-wedlock births. In this atmosphere, the fusion of a (moderate) social conservatism and a right-leaning economic populism could end up having a broader appeal than many alternative right-of-center visions.

Whether that actually happens depends on whether future Republican presidential hopefuls decide to learn from, adapt and improve upon the Huckabee-Santorum template. If they do, it’s possible that what Santorum has accomplished in the last few months will be remembered, not as the last glimpse of the Republican past, but as a plausible sketch of the Republican future.

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Feinberg fundraises off Cincy race

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Sure enough, the Evan Feinberg camp is pointing to the Tea Party's vanquishing of a GOP incumbent in Cincinnati we talked about yesterday, and using it to try to fundraise against incumbent Tim Murphy.

"Make no mistake: Tim Murphy is more vulnerable than Jean Schmidt ever was, and my campaign is going to deliver him a similar fate this April 24... with your help," it says.

A SuperPAC that worked against Schmidt is eying the 18th District race for independent expenditures against Murphy too, reports PoliticsPa.

Full Feinberg camp pitch after the jump:

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Dems pick Schmotzer for Wagner seat

Published by Tim McNulty on .

South Hills Democratic committee members tapped ex Baldwin-Whitehall school director and ex deputy county clerk of courts Marty Schmotzer as their candidate in the special election for Chelsa Wagner's former state House seat, all but guaranteeing he'll join the General Assembly from May through December.

If the choice is confirmed by the party's executive committee he'll be the sole Democrat on the April 24 special election ballot, which makes him the overwhelming favorite in the Dem-dominated district. Chris Cratsley of Overbrook is the only Republican running.

Schmotzer won the special election endorsement with 76 votes, to 28 for Erin Molchany and 9 for Shawn Lunny. They are on the ballot for the full 22nd District term with another Democrat, Stephanie Crossey. (UPDATE: Crossey has dropped.) The seat was due to be moved east through legislative redistricting but was given a two-year reprieve when the state Supreme Court threw out the GOP-designed districts.

Schmotzer said he was "very happy with the results" and thanked "all the people who took time to come out, especially since it was a hockey night in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won and so did we."

Molchany, the executive director of the civic group Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP) is urging the executive committee to not endorse Schmotzer, noting he was accused of taking $50,000 from the clerk's office in 1997, forcing him to resign. She's likely to keep pushing the issue over the next six weeks though the primary. "I trust the people in our neighborhoods to recognize who is dedicated to our community, who is committed to serve to meet our challenges, and who brings the integrity to the office that our neighborhoods deserve," she said in a statement issued last night.

Schmotzer has dominated the endorsement process for the suddenly competitive seat, getting nods for the full term from the Democratic Committee, the county's Young Democrats, the Pittsburgh Regional Building Trades Council and the Allegheny Labor Council.

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Toomey still neutral in Murphy race

Published by Tim McNulty on .

US Sen. Pat Toomey repeated to The Hill yesterday that he is not endorsing incumbent Rep. Tim Murphy over GOP challenger Evan Feinberg this spring.

Toomey denied he was endorsing Murphy back in November after attending a fundraiser for him, and is still sticking by that:

"No," he said tersely when The Hill asked if he'd endorse Murphy or his primary challenger, former Capital Hill staffer Evan Feinberg (R).

When asked why, Toomey pursed his lips. "I'm just staying out," he said. "It's my decision."

Until 2009 Toomey was president of the fiscally conservative Club For Growth, which has run TV ads in the 18th District criticizing Murphy as a "liberal congressman." The group has not endorsed Feinberg, but Tea Party favorites Tom Coburn and Rand Paul have.

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State Senate approves voter ID bill

Published by Laura Olson on .

Prepare to check your wallet before you head to the polls.

The state Senate approved a measure this afternoon on a 26-23 vote, which will require voters to show a form of photo identification before casting their ballot.

Presuming the House of Representatives concurs on the measure, which they are expected to do next week, and Gov. Tom Corbett signs it, as he's said he'll do, next month's primary will be a dress rehearsal for poll workers. The bill will go into full effect for the November general election.

The PG's Karen Langley has more on the bill's details here, and listened to the four hours of floor debate and dozens of rejected Democratic amendments offered this afternoon. She now reports that Democrats and civil-rights advocates are preparing a legal challenge to the soon-to-be law.

Meanwhile, Republicans were celebrating what they described as a move to protect the electoral process from potential fraud. Here's a statement from GOP State Committee Chairman Rob Gleason:

“The Pennsylvania Senate took an important step to promote the integrity of our electoral process by passing critical Voter ID legislation.  The bottom line is that voter ID is a commonsense reform that strengthens a fundamental pillar of our democracy by ensuring that every single vote that is legally cast, legally counts,” Chairman Gleason said.

“Showing identification has become a part of our daily lives. We show ID to prove that we are who we say we are when we drive a car, board plane, cash a check, purchase medicine, buy a gun or go hunting for our protection.  Isn’t the integrity of our elections worth protecting too?

“Protecting our electoral process should be a team sport, but I’m shocked that Democrats continue their attempts at blocking an clear way to give each Pennsylvanian and equal say electing our representatives.  Protecting each and every Pennsylvanian’s right to have his or her vote counted once and ensuring that valid votes aren’t canceled out by fraudulent votes is a protection for all voters.  Opponents of this legislation would leave the door open to fraud and abuse in elections from President of the United States to local office.”

And for balance, the statement that Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, just released: 

“This is a blatant ideologically driven initiative that limits and diminishes the rights of Pennsylvania citizens,” Costa said. “This is another display of failed leadership by the administration and the Republican majority in Harrisburg on issues that matter to Pennsylvanians. Our roads and bridges are in dire need of repair, thousands of people are out of work and without health care, schools are closing and this legislature would rather concentrate on suppressing voting rights.”