Santorum responds to rumors with his schedule: He’ll be in Florida until Monday

posted at 12:45 pm on January 26, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Rick Santorum might trail Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich by double digits in Florida, but he’s not ready to give up the state yet. While his campaign had indicated at one point that he might curtail campaigning in the Sunshine State so as to focus on the next round of voting states, the campaign today released the candidate’s schedule, which shows the Pennsylvania senator will campaign in Florida through Monday. From The Hill:

Santorum said Wednesday that he planned to return to his Virginia home over the weekend to prepare his tax returns and attend a pair of fundraisers in the Old Dominion and Pennsylvania.

He plans to make a number of radio appearances Friday in Florida, and then return to the state Sunday for a campaign rally. On Monday, he plans to participate in a candidate forum in Boca Raton, Fla., and he is scheduled to take part in Thursday night’s debate.

This is definitely in keeping with Santorum’s overall strategy to take it one state at a time. It’s hard to see, though, how Santorum will be able to gain any ground in Florida, where both Romney and Gingrich (or their hated Super PACs) have deployed their most effective weapons to win. Monday, the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future purchased $4.5 million in ad time in the state. Yesterday, the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future (such creative names!) announced the purchase of $6 million in ad time. Because of the size of the state and the many major media markets there, ads are expected to play an even larger role than usual in determining the outcome of this particular primary. Santorum, with a much smaller treasure chest, won’t be able to parry those significant ad buys.

Santorum’s best chance at igniting a spark with Florida voters comes tonight at the CNN debate in Jacksonville, Fla. He did well in Monday’s debate, making what some called his best pitch yet – but he received no appreciable bump in the polls from that solid showing, as Romney seemed to do from his re-polished performance. Nevertheless, if he continues to draw distinctions between his competitors and himself, he might pick up a number of undecideds or even change the minds of those who have committed to Romney or Gingrich on the basis of their Florida-specific pandering.


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