POLITICS

Rick Santorum Rallying In Pennsylvania, Not Illinois, Tuesday Night

03/19/2012 08:26 am ET | Updated Mar 19, 2012

CHICAGO -- Illinois voters go to the polls Tuesday, but Rick Santorum will hold an election night rally in his home state of Pennsylvania, a sign that the former senator's campaign may be expecting a loss.

Polling of the race has shown Romney with a steadily increasing lead, up to 15 points in the latest survey. So Santorum appears to be retreating.

But a similar move worked out well for Santorum last week. He held an election night rally last Tuesday in Louisiana, site of a March 24 primary, as voters went to the polls in Mississippi and Alabama.

Santorum's campaign had signaled that it expected to lose both states, but ended up winning both.

That may not happen in Illinois, but Santorum's decision to go to Pennsylvania Tuesday -- after a full day of campaigning in Illinois Monday -- is also an indication that he plans to fight Mitt Romney for the nomination for as long as possible, win or lose in Illinois.

Pennsylvania's primary is on April 24, and Santorum is forecast to win his home state. More immediately, he is expected to win Louisiana this coming Saturday.

But April looks to be a difficult month for him. He may lose all three contests on April 3 -- Maryland, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia -- as well as the four other contests occurring the same day as Pennsylvania's. New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware all hold primaries April 24 as well.

The Romney campaign's argument -- that Santorum is too far behind in delegates to catch up -- will gain traction if Santorum suffers a series of losses in early April and then again at the end of the month.

However, May is much more friendly for Santorum. If he can survive through April, he could be rejuvenated with a series of wins, starting on May 8 in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Nebraska and Oregon hold primaries on May 15, as well as two more southern states: Arkansas and Kentucky.

Texas, a motherlode of delegates with 155, holds its primary on May 29.

If Santorum's aim is to make it to the Republican convention in Tampa this August, recognizing that he can't make it to the goal of 1,144 delegates but can keep Romney from hitting the target, May could be the month that keeps him in the game.

all-also-on-huffpost

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS