Rick Santorum scored several significant endorsements Friday, one from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and another from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.
De Wine was expected to make the announcement at a news conference at the statehouse in Columbus, Republicans with direct knowledge of the pending endorsement told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
DeWine had endorsed Romney in the Republican presidential race after his initial choice, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, withdrew.
The defection comes as a sting to Romney, although he still has some major names in Ohio Republican politics behind him heading into the March 6 primary. They include Sen. Rob Portman, Reps. Mike Turner and Jim Renacci, and the former senator and governor, George Voinovich.
DeWine successfully pushed for Ohio to join 25 other states in a lawsuit to block the new federal health care overhaul. The lawsuit claims the law violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance.
Susan B. Anthony List announced Santorum as their pick Friday, the first time the group has endorsed in a presidential primary.
Jane Abraham, an anti-abortion activist in Michigan and chairman of the group's board, says none of the other candidates has the "record of consistent leadership" Santorum has shown on abortion.
Romney has struggled to win over social conservatives nervous about his previous support for abortion rights. Last year, Romney refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List's anti-abortion pledge, saying it was too broad.
The group plans to organize activists, particularly in Michigan, before the state's Feb. 28 primary.
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