Santorum to lobby Pa delegates

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Santorum in Gettysburg

Photo: Bill Schwartz/Gettysburg Times

In his return to Pennsylvania while Mitt Romney is winning states and delegates, Rick Santorum is trying "to shift tactical and thematic perceptions of the Republican presidential nomination battle," write the P-G's Jim O'Toole and Karen Langley today.

Pa's April 24 primary offers a hefty 72 delegates but they're uncommitted -- even if Santorum wins his former state he'll have to see who wins the delegate races in the state's 18 congressional districts before knowing who the delegates will be. Some are Ron Paul supporters, some establishment names tied to Romney (like Allegheny County's GOP chair Jim Roddey) and others party officials from the "T" more sympathetic to the former senator.

For the first time we're getting indications that the Santorum team is reaching out to delegates in Pennsylvania, but in murky fashion. From the NYT's Kit Seelye:

By coming here Tuesday, Mr. Santorum could focus on trying to trying to persuade some of those uncommitted delegates to commit to his side.

“This will give him a chance to sit down around the table and say, ‘Let’s go through the list of who we’ve got lined up and who we have to go back to and revisit and work on,’ “ said one person close to the Santorum campaign who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. “There will be assignments from tonight, ‘Go back to visit with people, talk to your guys,’ and Rick will be reaching out to folks.”


New legislative maps on April 12?

Published by Laura Olson on .

Here we go again: the Legislative Reapportionment Commission has scheduled another meeting to unveil new maps, after a truncated meeting last month and one set for early March that was cancelled before it began.

No press release from the commission officials yet, but House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin tweeted this afternoon that commission chairman Stephen McEwen, a retired judge, has scheduled that meeting for April 12 at 1 p.m.

"Vote on maps soon," he concluded the post.

Top state lawmakers have been struggling for nearly two months to revise the legislative boundaries they approved last year, which were rejected by the state Supreme Court in January.

The new maps will not go into effect until the next legislative cycle, and candidates this year are running in the districts set during the 2001 process.

UPDATE, 4:50 p.m. - Here's a link to McEwen's letter proposing an April 12 meeting, via Pennsylvania Independent.


Murphy TV ads start today

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Befitting his giant financial advantage over GOP primary rival Evan Feinberg, incumbent US Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair is set to go on TV for the first time today with a spot regarding health care reform.

Proxies have already been on air both for and against Murphy but this is the first time either campaign will have advertised on TV. We're told by a source outside the campaign that it's a cable-only buy on GOP-friendly Fox. We'll post a copy as soon as we can. (UPDATE: It's below.)

At the end of the year Murphy reported more than $1 million in cash to Feinberg's $40,000. Democrat Larry Maggi is unopposed for the 18th District Democratic nod.


Santorum camp argues delegate math

Published by Karen Langley on .

With the GOP nominating contest recast as a race to 1,144 delegates, the Santorum campaign is trying to cast doubt on the most widely used tallies.

The campaign told reporters on a conference call today that the count kept by the Associated Press, widely cited by other news organization, relies on flawed assumptions that gives Mitt Romney too many delegates and Rick Santorum too few.

They presented their own delegate tally, which relate, campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley said, "to the rules as they currently are, and not to any made-up rules that somehow try to change the perception of reality." Where the AP has Romney with 522 delegates and Santorum with 252, the Santorum campaign gives Romney 435 delegates and their candidate 311.

Delegate counts have become central to discussion of the ongoing primary battle, with the Romney campaign arguing they alone retain a path to the nomination. In a memo after Santorum's wins last week in Alabama and Mississippi, Romney's political director wrote that his candidate's rivals had "only moved closer to their date of mathematical elimination."

But the Santorum camp argues the accepted counts incorrectly assign delegates for certain states, like Iowa, Missouri and Washington, where delegates are allocated through county, district and state conventions, rather than through the statewide votes that have taken place.

"In Iowa, the open caucus from January has literally no bearing whatsoever on the election of national convention delegates," said John Yob, the campaign's delegate director.

Yob said those conventions would produce results more favorable to Santorum, and less to Romney, than the statewide votes, because he said participants are more conservative.

The Santorum campaign also is counting on the Republican National Committee forcing Florida and Arizona to award their delegates proportionally, rather than giving all to the winner. But if the tallies kept by the RNC are any indicator, officials there expect Romney to keep all of those delegates.


Critz gets Beaver labor nod

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Speaking of those congressional endorsements, Johnstown Democrat Mark Critz has picked up another in the PA12 race, this time in rival Jason Altmire's backyard of Beaver County.

The Beaver-Lawrence Central Labor Council is endorsing Critz, following in the wake of three other labor councils in the district. Full Critz camp statement after the jump: