Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Santorum forges on, but math looks bad

WEST MONROE, La. — Rick Santorum has a new campaign prop and some fresh lines, but the long-shot Republican presidential hopeful still faces the same problem: He is way behind in the delegate count in a race that is all about delegate counts.

Ahead by double-digits in polls here, Santorum is expected to do well and to continue his streak of strong showings in the South. Yet, with a delegate gap getting wider, the final vote tally in Louisiana may not matter in the long run given that Santorum faces a difficult stretch of contests next month.

In the run-up to today's GOP primary, where 20 of the state's 46 delegates are up for grabs, Santorum campaigned on energy and health care, slamming front-runner Mitt Romney as the Etch A Sketch candidate while casting himself as a conviction conservative with beliefs that are etched in stone.

He called on Republicans here to press "the reset button" — a dig at a Romney adviser who suggested the former Massachusetts governor would reset his campaign, "like an Etch A Sketch," once he won the nomination.

Romney still has major advantages in the nominating contest. He trounced Santorum in Tuesday's Illinois primary, still has the most money and a bigger campaign apparatus and most importantly, leads Santorum by roughly 300 delegates in the race to 1,144.

Santorum, however, slammed the delegate tally as "Romney math," insisting that he is doing better than those numbers show and would have an advantage going into the convention in Tampa because of his conservative credentials and record on health care.

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