BigNews.Biz - Apr 04,2012 - Rick Santorum Pitches for Votes at Fox Valley Stops
GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum has his sights set beyond Wisconsin's primary election. His vision seems similar to that of front-runner Mitt Romney — eyes directed straight at the White House.
During a visit to the Fox Cities area Monday, Santorum's optimism remained firm despite Romney's lead in delegate counts and poll numbers.
Data released Sunday by Public Policy Polling showed Romney leading in Wisconsin with 43 percent, ahead of Santorum's 36 percent.
During a campaign stop at Simon's Specialty Cheese, Little Chute, the former Pennsylvania senator said his campaign would still be breathing.
"We'll wait and see what happens but we feel like we're going to be very, very competitive," Santorum said. "As I said before, we'll go into Pennsylvania and be successful there and the map in May looks very good for us."
Primaries were also being held in Maryland and Washington, D.C.,. Wisconsin's open election has the most delegates up for grabs with 42 followed by Maryland's 37 and Washington's 16. Santorum's home-state contest is April 24.
Santorum said prolonging a two-candidate presidential race wouldn't harm the Republican Party.
He pointed to the 2008 Democratic primaries as an example of what a lengthy primary contest can do to an electorate. Former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton conceded to Barack Obama in June 2008, only two months before the Democratic National Convention.
"Did that hurt them?" Santorum asked. "No, it didn't hurt them at all. It kept the Democratic Party engaged and I think this primary, the longer it goes, the better it is for the party."
At Simon's, Santorum greeted customers with a smile and extended hand.
"How we doing?" he asked. "Good to see you."
For lunch, he cooked his own grilled cheese sandwich and sucked on a bottle of beer — but not before sampling traditional Wisconsin cheese curds.
"They're a little salty, but I like them, I like them a lot," Santorum said. "They squeak when you eat them, which is really cool."
"It's very exciting," said employee Cindy Pynenberg, 63, of Freedom. She described the senator as a "sweet" man who shared her Christian values.
Santorum then went to Sabre Lanes in Menasha, where he delivered a speech and bowled a game.
His speech hit the usual campaign points with topics ranging from energy to the economy. He took aim at the records of both Obama and Romney, blending the role of primary and general election contender.
At the end of the speech, Santorum called on Wisconsin supporters to get out to the polls today, claiming Romney's campaign had been racking up wins in states where turnout had been low.
Craig Roth, of Appleton, wasn't sure which candidate to support before hearing Santorum's speech.
Now, he's sure where his vote is going.
"It pretty well put me over the edge," he said.
By Kyle Daly, The Post-Crescent staff writer
First appeared in The Post-Crescent on April 3, 2012