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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Santorum's history in Pennsylvania explains challenges of his 2012 campaign

4

March

Rick Santorum scrapped his way out of the basement of the Republican presidential primary by forcefully arguing he is a pure conservative with a record of defeating Democrats. Having demonstrated this prowess in a swing state like Pennsylvania, he says, shows he can win in November.

But there's the minor detail of Santorum's 2006 U.S. Senate re-election race.

He lost by 18 points.

Even after clearing away the caveats — he refused to back down from support for the Iraq war and his Democratic opponent had a legendary surname — the landslide still rings loudly in Pennsylvania and undermines the central argument of Santorum's campaign.

"I wrote him off," said Joe Horton, 42, a psychology professor at Grove City College, a Christian school 60 miles north of Pittsburgh. "There were fresher faces. But he's shown tenaciousness. Super Tuesday will tell a lot."

A review of Santorum's record and conversations with Pennsylvania voters explains how he got this far, a doggedness first noticed on the high school basketball court, and why he may not go much farther.

Story here.

[Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 9:50am]

    

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