Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Rick Santorum Weighs in on Toomey, Pennsylvania, and the Pledge

Rick Santorum, chairman of America’s Foundation and former Pennsylvania senator, spoke with Battle ‘10 today on the mood in the commonwealth and the chances of congressional challengers with only four weeks until Election Day.

National Mood And democrat strategy

“I think there’s a great amount of disappointment in the country that we are at this point,” Santorum told Battle ’10, reflecting on the national mood. “They see both parties as having contributed to it. But they recognize that Democrats have made things far worse, much quicker than Republicans. But that Republicans did not perform admirably while in Washington.”

Despite voter disillusionment with both parties, Santorum voiced confidence in Republican chances at the polls thanks to greater displeasure with Democrats currently in power.

Many Democrats, Santorum said, are running “by claiming to be the conservatives that they aren’t.” Santorum said the strategy is to “pretend you’re a conservative, and attack your opponent, and play off the negative brand of the Republicans.”

Pledge to America

On the Pledge to America, Santorum struck a pragmatic tone. 

 

“The problem with the Pledge is it doesn’t provide meat on the bone as to what [Republicans] want to accomplish, specifically, [and] certainly on the social issues. There wasn’t really anything that was edgy, but that was intentional,” Santorum explained.

“From a rhetorical view it was fine, from a substantive view it was short, he told Battle ‘10.” “They didn’t want give Democrats anything they could sink their teeth into.”

Pennsylvania Prospects

 

Pennsylvania, historically a battleground state, has seen a slew of polls over recent weeks suggesting that the senate and gubernatorial races may already be decided. Rasmussen released a poll today putting Pat Toomey up 9 points over Joe Sestak.

“A big win in Pennsylvania for Republicans is four or five points,” cautioned Santorum. “That’s a huge win.”

“These races are all going to get closer because Democrats are coming home [from Washington].” In key areas especially, explained Santorum, Republicans will face a lot a straight party voting.”

“I’ve seen polling with candidates up 10 or 15 points. In the current environment of the state, even with current sentiment, it would be shocking to win by that margin,” Santorum told Battle ’10.

“If they do, we’ll pick up seven or eight congressional seats.”

 

“Really good margins,” said Santorum, would be Tom Corbett winning his gubernatorial contest by five or six points, with Pat Toomey securing his senate seat by four or five points.

“In that scenario, we pick up four or five congressional seats, maybe six depending” on individual candidates financial competitiveness heading into the final weeks.

’Lightning in a Bottle’

 

“Someone will catch lightning in a bottle and will surprise a lot of people,” predicted Santorum.

He highlighted the Tim Burns-Mark Critz contest in the 12th district – late Congressman Murtha’s district – and the Paul Kanjorski-Lou Barletta races as two potential examples.

Santorum also said he “feels good” about the race in Delaware County’s open 7th district seat, which Joe Sestak is vacating in his bid for senate.

On the general viability of Republican candidates heading into Election Day, though, Santorum remained bullish despite a still-suffering GOP brand. Santorum pointed out what polling continues to demonstrate, reminding Battle ‘10, “moderate voters are decidedly coming our way.”

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