Rick Santorum

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Iowa: Republicans question Iowa’s key role in presidential balloting | Los Angeles Times

For more than 40 years, Iowa voters have played a vital role in picking the nation’s president, culling the field of hopefuls and helping launch a fortunate handful all the way to the White House. For about 35 of those years, Iowa has been the target of jealousy and scorn, mainly from outsiders who say the state, the first to vote in the presidential contest, is too white and too rural; that its caucuses, precinct-level meetings of party faithful, are too quirky and too exclusionary to play such a key role in the nominating process. Now, a swelling chorus of critics is mounting a fresh challenge to Iowa’s privileged role, targeting especially the August straw poll held the year before the election, which traditionally established the Republican Party front-runner. Increasingly, critics say, the informal balloting has proved a meaningless and costly diversion of time and money. Some GOP strategists are urging candidates to think hard before coming to Iowa at all.

Full Article: rim jpenner - latimes.com.

Voting Blogs: Caucus System Cracks Revealed During 2012 GOP Primary Season | governing.com

When it comes to running elections and counting votes, states and counties have come a long way over the past dozen years. Nothing demonstrates their progress better than watching other people try to do the same job. During the Republican presidential primary campaign this year, several states were embarrassed by snafus with their caucuses, which are run by political parties rather than by public officials. In Iowa, an eight-vote election-night win for Mitt Romney was later converted into a 34-vote victory for Rick Santorum, with party officials admitting that they didn’t, in fact, know the actual number. (The state party chair resigned.) Counting was slow enough in Nevada to raise doubts during the delay, while in Maine, the GOP decided to declare Romney the statewide winner before some counties had even held their caucuses. “It’s been stunning to watch,” says Cathy Cox, a former Georgia secretary of state. “Caucus voting looks like the Wild West of voting.”

Full Article: Caucus System Cracks Revealed During 2012 GOP Primary Season.

Editorials: The Business of Ending a Presidential Campaign | Businessweek

Hours after dropping out of the presidential race this month, Rick Santorum fired off an e-mail to supporters asking for “one more” contribution: “I am planning to do everything in my power to bring a change about in the White House,” he wrote. “But our campaign has debt, and I cannot be free to focus on helping defeat [Barack Obama] with this burden.” Santorum maintains his campaign is less than $1 million in debt, and his adviser John Brabender says, “We feel good that in short order we’ll be able to wrap things up.” Yet if history is any indication, the candidate may be living with the financial legacy of his failed candidacy for a long time. Running for president is exhausting and all-consuming. Putting an end to a presidential campaign can be a nightmare that lasts years. There are employees, consultants, lawyers, and ad makers clamoring to be paid, ad buys to cancel, contracts and legal disputes to settle, office space, computers, phones, and furniture around the country to unload, and a staggering pile of disclosure forms and other paperwork to complete before the Federal Election Commission will certify that a campaign is officially over. “I would often say to people: Imagine starting a $100 million business from zero, building it up, running it, and then bringing it back down to zero all within nine months or a year’s time,” says Joe Stoltz, the FEC’s former director of auditing. “You don’t see many businesses come and go that quickly. It’s not easy.”

Full Article: The Business of Ending a Presidential Campaign - Businessweek.

Iowa: GOP Examines What Went Wrong With Caucuses | ABC News

After a late night of vote counting, the Iowa GOP announced Mitt Romney as the caucuses’ tentative winner, having staved off Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes. “The good news is we were able to verify the vote reports tonight,” then-chairman Matt Strawn said at a news conference, noting that Iowa’s 1,774 precincts would have two weeks to certify their vote tallies. Two weeks later, the Iowa GOP announced that Santorum had won by 34 votes.  Eight precincts, meanwhile, could not be certified, and a party official made it clear that the votes would never be counted. A week and a half later, Strawn resigned as party chairman. The Iowa GOP has now set itself to the task of figuring out what happened and how to fix it next time, having formed an Iowa Caucus Review Committee comprised of 17 party members including county chairs, former state-party officials, party activists, volunteers and supporters of multiple presidential campaigns. Next Thursday, the committee will convene its first meeting, where it will hear the first round of reports from subcommittees on vote tabulation, public information and volunteer training.

Full Article: Iowa GOP Examines What Went Wrong With Caucuses - ABC News.

Texas: Push is on to make Texas GOP primary a winner-take-all battle | Star Telegram

Rick Santorum, trying to keep his presidential hopes alive despite increasingly long odds, is looking for the political equivalent of a Hail Mary pass from Texas Republicans. A group of Texas party activists, led by Santorum supporters, are waging an uphill battle to change the rules of the May 29 primary so that whoever wins would get all 152 delegates up for grabs in the contest. The activists say they have enough support to force an emergency meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee, though major hurdles loom beyond that. The Republican National Committee would have to approve the last-ditch move to change the delegate selection process because of the late date of the request, officials say. An RNC official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Thursday that would be highly unlikely. Later, the RNC communications director, Sean Spicer, said there is “no basis” for a change and that Texas would “remain a proportional state,” according to a posting on Twitter from The Washington Post. The change might also require approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Full Article: Push is on to make Texas GOP primary a winner-take-all battle | Elections & Politics | N....

Texas: Santorum Backers Look to Change Texas Primary Rules | The Texas Tribune

Rick Santorum, trying to keep his presidential hopes alive despite increasingly long odds, is looking for the political equivalent of a Hail Mary pass from Texas Republicans. Santorum has noted in recent days that some Texas party activists are waging an uphill battle to change the rules of the May 29 primary so that whoever wins would get all 152 delegates up for grabs in the contest. The activists, led by Santorum supporters, say they have enough support to force an emergency meeting of the State Republican Executive Committee, though major hurdles loom beyond that. The Republican National Committee would have to approve the last-ditch move to change the delegate selection process because of the late date of the request, officials say. An RNC official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Thursday that would be highly unlikely. Later, the RNC communications director, Sean Spicer, said there is “no basis” for a change and that Texas would “remain a proportional state,” according to a posting on Twitter from The Washington Post. The change might also require approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Full Article: Santorum Backers Look to Change Texas Primary Rules — 2012 Presidential Election | The Texas Tribune.

Alabama: Republican Party still reviewing primary ballots as one presidential delegate hangs in the balance | al.com

Jefferson County Presiding Court Judge Scott Vowell on Tuesday ordered Jefferson County to retabulate the votes from the March 13 Republican presidential primary in precincts that are split between two congressional districts, a review that could change how the state GOP awards one of its delegates. Vowell also ordered the Alabama Republican Party to pay for the review if the state does not reimburse Jefferson County. The order came after a lawsuit was filed Friday by the Alabama Republican Party arguing that votes in 48 split precincts in Jefferson and six other counties failed to identify which congressional district the presidential vote came from. The issue is significant because some of the party’s presidential delegates are awarded based on how each candidate fared within the congressional districts. Alabama Republican Party Executive Director T.J. Maloney, testifying Tuesday, said 16 of the split precincts are in Jefferson County.

Full Article: Alabama Republican Party still reviewing primary ballots as one presidential delegate hangs in the balance | al.com.

National: FEC Reports Show Ron Paul Is Really Serious About Transparency – ProPublica

He may be in last place when it comes to delegates, but when it comes to filing expense reports with the FEC, Ron Paul beats everyone. His campaign’s hyper-vigilance is notable, verging on fanatical. Every bank fee, every 22 cents at a FedEx, every $1 toll on the Florida turnpike, every $5.09 pit stop at any Starbucks anywhere, every doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts and Dough Nutz — it’s all right there, itemized in the Paul campaign’s copious expenditure reports. In 160 instances so far, the campaign has reported purchases costing a single dollar or less. Last week, ProPublica examined the spending of the five presidential candidates and the major super PACs, identifying their 200 top payees.  But as part of digging into the more than $306 million spent through February, it was impossible to avoid the other end of the spectrum: The small bucks, if you will. The Paul campaign tracks every cent like no other, which Paul campaign officials say is deliberate. “We take the trust our donors place in us very seriously and are deeply committed to transparency and accuracy in our reporting,” wrote Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, in an email response to ProPublica.  Deeply, indeed.

Full Article: Ron Paul Is Really Serious About Transparency - ProPublica.

National: Santorum: ‘The Only Reason You Don’t Have A Voter ID Is You Want To Continue To Perpetrate Fraud’ | ThinkProgress

To Rick Santorum, the more than 23 million American voters who don’t have a government-issued photo ID aren’t potential victims of disenfranchisement. The presidential hopeful uses a different name: perpetrators of fraud. ThinkProgress spoke with the Republican presidential hopeful about voter ID laws — which require that citizens present a certain form of photo identification or they are barred from voting — during a campaign stop in Milwaukee last weekend. Santorum said that he supports such laws because, as he states it, “the only reason you don’t have a voter ID is you want to continue to perpetrate fraud.” He went on to dismiss the notion that anyone might not have access to a voter ID, saying that “it’s not a problem.” Santorum’s claim falls somewhere in the murky world between audacity and lunacy. More than one in ten Americans lack a government-issued photo ID. These people are not committing voter fraud — indeed, voter fraud is rarer than getting struck by lightning — they are potentially having their right to vote stripped away. Santorum appears to have confused the disenfranchisees with the disenfranchisers.

Full Article: Santorum To ThinkProgress: 'The Only Reason You Don't Have A Voter ID Is You Want To Continue To Perpetrate Fraud' | ThinkProgress.

National: Pro-Romney PAC Killing Machine With Attack Ads | Bloomberg

One of the political ads airing in the run-up to the April 3 Wisconsin primary accuses Rick Santorum of voting with former Senator Hillary Clinton in favor of granting voting rights to violent convicted felons. Santorum’s campaign says the commercial is untrue, yet that hasn’t stopped Restore Our Future, a so-called super-political action committee supporting Mitt Romney, from running it and another attack ad more than 1,647 times on Wisconsin television stations, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, a firm that tracks advertising.

Full Article: Pro-Romney PAC Killing Machine With Attack Ads - Bloomberg.

Wisconsin: Political contributions flow into Wisconsin but less of it is going to presidential candidates | Appleton Post Crescent

Wisconsin’s charged political climate has sparked an unprecedented influx of cash in state politics, but presidential candidates have not reaped the benefits of that fundraising momentum. As the state’s April 3 primary nears, the latest data shows donations from Wisconsin residents in the 2012 presidential race have plunged more than 50 percent from levels four years ago. Through the end of February, Wisconsin donations per capita are the fourth-lowest among the 50 states. The comparisons are imperfect because many primary dates shifted — Wisconsin’s was in mid-February in 2008 — but there’s no denying Wisconsin is a dramatically different state than it was in 2008, said Arnold Shober, a political science professor at Lawrence University in Appleton. “One of the drawbacks of having so much state-level activity is that those races are sucking up … campaign donations here, and I think we’re starting to see some sense of political burnout here in Wisconsin with the increased level of political vitriol,” he said. “That level of animosity has really dampened some of the enthusiasm that often goes into politics, especially in big election years like this one will be.”

Full Article: Political contributions flow into Wisconsin but less of it is going to presidential candidates | Appleton Post Crescent | postcrescent.com.

Voting Blogs: Foreign Corporations, Non-profits and the Holding of Citizens United | Money, Politics and the Law

Days after Citizens United v. FEC was decided, President Obama famously said at his 2010 State of the Union address that he believed the decision would “open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limits in our elections.”  There may be loopholes which allow foreign corporations to donate through American entities, but not only arecorporations generally not funding super PACs, the ban on money accepted directly from foreign corporations appears to be being followed.  Last month, Rick Santorum’s super PAC returned a $50,000 donation from such a corporation. The Internal Revenue Service has also said non-profit organizations under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (which applies to charitable organizations) are banned from contributing to super PACs.  (In contrast, non-profit social welfare organizations organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Code may donate to political causes as long as that is not their main activity.  Professor Rick Hasen has more on 501(c) non-profit donations after Citizens United)  This ban from the IRS led to Mitt Romney’s super PACrefunding a $100,000 check from a 501(c)(3) charity. But here’s the important question from a legal standpoint: under the holding of Citizens United, should either of these bans be constitutional?

Full Article: Money, Politics and the Law - Foreign Corporations, Non-profits and the Holding of Citizens United.

National: ‘Super PACs’ Supply Millions as G.O.P. Race Drains Field | NYTimes.com

The Republican presidential candidates are running low on campaign cash as expensive primaries in states like Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania loom, leaving them increasingly reliant on a small group of supporters funneling millions of dollars in unlimited contributions into “super PACs.” Mitt Romney raised $11.5 million in February but spent $12.4 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday. He began March with $7.3 million in cash, slightly less than in January. Rick Santorum raised more than $9 million in his best month yet, but spent $7.9 million; he ended with $2.6 million in cash, along with close to $1 million in debts, mostly associated with television and Internet advertising. Newt Gingrich raised $2.6 million, spent $2.9 million and had about $1.5 million in the bank, barely enough to keep his campaign going. He also began March with myriad debts totaling over $1.5 million for expenses like media placement, security services, salaries and airfare.

Full Article: Republican Presidential Candidates Run Low on Money - NYTimes.com.

Illinois: Ballot deal saved Romney | Politico.com

Mitt Romney’s vaunted organization nearly failed him in Illinois, where he only remained eligible for delegates on the ballot after a negotiated truce between his campaign and Rick Santorum’s people. The problems stem from the campaign relying on Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. He struggled to acquire enough signatures to qualify for Romney’s delegates and then had the statement of candidacy notarized out of state, which the Santorum campaign challenged despite having its own statement of candidacy notarized in Iowa. Had Santorum’s campaign been successful with its challenge to Romney, the error could have led to disqualifying Romney from winning any of the state’s delegates.

Full Article: Illinois ballot deal saved Romney - POLITICO.com Print View.

Missouri: Contention, confusion mar Missouri caucuses | USAToday.com

Contention and confusion marred various Republican caucuses in Missouri on Saturday, and one meeting was abruptly shut down, as impassioned supporters of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul battled for an edge in the state’s complicated delegate selection process. A caucus at a school near St. Louis where roughly 2,500 Republicans had gathered was adjourned before a vote could take place because it got so rowdy that extra police were summoned and two people were arrested for trespassing. Elsewhere, political tensions and divisions led to recounts not only on votes over which candidates should be supported, but even which people should preside over the caucuses. “It looks like a chaotic day around Missouri,” said former senator Jim Talent, a Romney campaign adviser who participated in one of the more politically divided caucuses in St. Louis County.

Full Article: Contention, confusion mar Missouri caucuses – USATODAY.com.

Missouri: Contention, confusion mar Missouri caucuses | USAToday.com

Contention and confusion marred various Republican caucuses in Missouri on Saturday, and one meeting was abruptly shut down, as impassioned supporters of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul battled for an edge in the state’s complicated delegate selection process. A caucus at a school near St. Louis where roughly 2,500 Republicans had gathered was adjourned before a vote could take place because it got so rowdy that extra police were summoned and two people were arrested for trespassing. Elsewhere, political tensions and divisions led to recounts not only on votes over which candidates should be supported, but even which people should preside over the caucuses. “It looks like a chaotic day around Missouri,” said former senator Jim Talent, a Romney campaign adviser who participated in one of the more politically divided caucuses in St. Louis County.

Full Article: Contention, confusion mar Missouri caucuses – USATODAY.com.

Pennsylvania: Not Penn. pals – Even if he wins his home state, Santorum could walk away without delegates | The Daily

As Rick Santorum desperately tries to make a dent in Mitt Romney’s formidable delegate lead, he faces an unlikely obstacle on the primary calendar: his home state of Pennsylvania. Yes, Santorum is currently favored — though hardly a lock — to win the popular vote in the state he represented in Congress for 16 years. But Pennsylvania’s non-binding primary rules for distributing delegates raise the prospect that Santorum, who has said he’ll win the vast majority of the state’s delegates, could actually come away from next month’s primary empty-handed at a time when he can ill-afford it. Which means the April 24 primary could represent yet another chance for Romney — who kicked off his Pennsylvania campaign this week by trotting out supportive Republican leaders — to finally deal Santorum a knockout blow.

Full Article: Not Penn. pals - WWW.THEDAILY.COM.

Puerto Rico: Primary Could Pad Romney’s Delegate Lead or Spring Santorum Surprise | ABC News

If Mitt Romney proved anything last weekend with his victories in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands, it is that the Republican presidential nomination this year might not be won by high-profile triumphs in states such as Iowa and South Carolina, but rather by diligently and methodically amassing delegates in far-off contests. That makes Sunday’s primary in Puerto Rico more important than you might think. Twenty-three delegates will be up for grabs when voters in the island commonwealth head to the polls this weekend, nearly as many as there were in more publicized battles in Michigan – 30 – and Arizona – 29. It should come as no surprise, then, that Romney and rival Rick Santorum are set to campaign there only days before the primary. Newt Gingrich might soon follow.

Full Article: Puerto Rico Primary Could Pad Romney’s Delegate Lead or Spring Santorum Surprise - ABC News.

Alabama: Super-PAC Ads Dominate Republican Race in Alabama, Mississippi | Bloomberg

Television advertisements in Alabama and Mississippi promoting rival Republican presidential contenders have been paid for almost entirely by independent political action committees instead of the candidates’ campaigns. So-called Super-PACs supplied 91 percent of the 5,592 campaign ads that aired on broadcast television stations in the two states in the past month, according to data from New York- based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. Alabama and Mississippi hold primary elections today, and polls indicate a close race in each among former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Full Article: Super-PAC Ads Dominate Republican Race in Alabama, Mississippi - Bloomberg.

National: The Super PAC Paradox | Roll Call

When GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum gave his victory speech in Missouri after the primary there on Feb. 7, he shared the stage with a white-haired gentleman who stood practically at his elbow the entire time.
Investment fund manager Foster Friess probably did not strike audience members as someone special as he smiled merrily behind the former Pennsylvania Senator. But Friess is at the center of a growing controversy over unregulated money and alleged campaign finance violations in the 2012 campaign. At issue is whether unrestricted super PACs are illegally working hand-in-hand with the candidates they support. Campaign finance watchdogs say the collusion is flagrant. Super PAC organizers argue just as loudly that they are meticulously following the rules.

Full Article: The Super PAC Paradox : Roll Call Politics.