Mike DeWine: Santorum Should Take Ohio

Tuesday, 06 Mar 2012 05:23 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says presidential candidate Rick Santorum should win the state’s primary today, because he has a real connection to both Republican and crossover voters in the Buckeye State. The former senator and congressman also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday that his initial support of Mitt Romney was a mistake, as the former Massachusetts governor cannot relate to the average Ohioan.  
 
“I kind of bought into the conventional wisdom that everybody was thinking at the time, a number of months ago, that Governor Romney would be the strongest candidate in the fall. . . . It became clear to me a few weeks ago that Governor Romney is just not relating to the average Ohioan,” DeWine said. “I don’t think he’ll do well in the general election . . . I don’t think he can reach out to the people we have in Ohio, and that is the blue collar we used to call Reagan Democrats, who sometimes will vote Republican — mostly Democrat — but they will cross over and vote for Republicans.

“Rick Santorum, on the other hand, has a real connection I think to average Ohioans — you see it — I’ve been with him as we have traveled around the state, time and time again,” he said. “His crowds have been two or three times as big as Governor Romney’s. The people who come out —average Ohioans, they bring their kids — there’s a tremendous amount of energy in this campaign. I think you’ll see that same energy for Rick Santorum in the fall.”

Van Susteren asked what happens if Romney wins Ohio. DeWine said he does not think that will happen.

“But let’s be realistic about this — let’s talk about what has been going on: Rick Santorum has tremendous energy behind him. But what Governor Romney has done, he has come in and spent — this is unbelievable, I’ve never seen it happen in Ohio — $12 million in two weeks. He has outspent Santorum about 12 to 1,” DeWine said. “So that is how he has been able to narrow this gap depending on which poll you look at. There was one poll that had Santorum up by three or four — another one had it just the opposite way — so it’s basically a dead heat now.”
 

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