Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Santorum Takes Louisiana, but It's a Tough Road Ahead

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Santorum Takes Louisiana, but It's a Tough Road Ahead

Article excerpt

Louisiana gave Rick Santorum one more dose of Southern comfort, but the former senator faces a tougher road through the month of April.

After a 10-day break, the Republican candidates will compete in three winner-take-all primaries on April 3, in Maryland, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. Mr. Santorum did not file a delegate slate in the District. Maryland's demographics, with Republican voters concentrated in affluent suburbs and a relatively low proportion of evangelical Christians, favor Mitt Romney. That leaves the land of cheeseheads and breweries as the nest hope for Mr. Santorum to nurture his long-shot hopes until another big round of primaries, including Pennsylvania, at the end of the month.

"We think we can win Wisconsin," said John Brabender, Mr. Santorum's strategist, as the polls were closing on a big Romney victory in Illinois last week.

Mr. Santorum notched another victory in Louisiana with 49 percent of the vote. Mr. Romney drew 27 percent, former House speaker Newt Gingrich 16 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul 6 percent.

But Wisconsin will be a steep hill to climb for the trailing campaign. Mr. Romney's campaign and the allied super-PAC, Restore Our Future, were already airing commercials in the state on March 15. Entering the weekend, according to a Politico report, the Romney forces had already spent more than $3 million while team Santorum had spent just about $55,000. A Rasmussen poll of Wisconsin, taken before the Louisiana results were in, showed Mr. Romney with a substantial lead. The national frontrunner had 46 percent to 33 percent for Mr. Santorum; Mr. Paul, 8 percent; and Mr. Gingrich, 7 percent. Mr. Romney got more good news from national polls last week. His support in the Gallup Poll's daily tracking survey reached 40 percent at the end of the week, the highest level of support he or any other GOP candidate has reached in the survey. Mr. Santorum, who had spiked to 36 percent after his victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri in early February, was at 26 percent, followed by Mr Gingrich, 14 percent, and Mr. Paul, 8 percent.

After the April 3 contests. …

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