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Local Conservatives Pave the Way for Santorum Announcement

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

Organizers and supporters prep on Sunday evening.

Rick Santorum still has friends in Pennsylvania. For almost three weeks, a collection of former staffers, GOP activists and loyalists have worked to set the stage for his presidential announcement.

PoliticsPA checked in yesterday evening with a group of the Senator’s staffers and supporters as they prepped for today’s event at the Somerset County Courthouse.

Since the Senator set the date and location for this morning’s event, Republican committees Chambers of Commerce, business coalitions, pro-life groups, 2nd amendment groups, Tea Parties – all of them have been sending out and managing invitations. Current campaign staffers, and Santorum’s former PA staff, have tapped old volunteer lists to generate turnout.

They’ve put an emphasis on the western part of the state, and are expecting a few dozen from several counties around the state (25 people from Lycoming, a dozen from Erie, etc).

Organizers expect anywhere from 200 to 400 people (not including the plethora of news media).

“Rick’s been here numerous times, we’ve had various fundraisers for him,” said Somerset County Republican Committee Chairman Bruce Hottle. “He’s always been very popular here, and we’re excited he choose Somerset for the announcement he’s going to make tomorrow.”

John Dutkowski, USAF '67-71

“We’re setting up the announcement,” said Richard Talarico, the former Deputy Mayor of Pittsburgh. “I would guess about 300 to 400 people.”

“I think he has a wonderful shot at really standing out from a lot of the candidates right now. It’s a wide open race.”

Santorum will speak for up to ten minutes, then talk with people in the crowd for another twenty. He will use notes, but his remarks will not be prewritten. “He doesn’t need a teleprompter to know what to say,” joked one organizer. He isn’t planning a formal media availability.

He chose the Somerset location for its proximity to the coal mines in Tyler Hill, where his  grandfather worked after immigrating from Italy. But don’t be surprised to hear a reference to the heroic victims of Flight 93: the crash site is only about 10 miles away.

Also, it isn’t lost on Santorum that today is the 67th anniversary of D-Day. Expect to see a fair number of veterans standing behind Santorum on the courthouse steps.

Staffers there tonight frequently used “Norman Rockell” as an adjective to describe the anticipated visual: something that Republican primary voters will see and think, ‘that’s the America I remember.’ The image of tomorrow’s event is hoped to be one of the campaign’s primary visuals for the duration of the race (in TV ads, on the website, etc).

It’s fitting, say supporters, because Santorum hasn’t changed what he stands for since his 2006 re-election loss. They think that last year’s elections show that American voters have.

Norman Rockwell setting

 

4 Responses

  1. Mr. Dutkowski,,,,,,, I guess Viet Nam Veterans fought to Privatize Social Security?????

  2. Where does this end???? Rick Santorum who could have used his WWII Immigrant Father’s life for a True Example of the American Dream, instead chose a Grandfather that worked for an imaginary coal company as his hero.

    Mr. Aldo Santorum, Rick’s father was born in Italy, moved to the US, served in WWII in the South Pacific,,, was forever grateful for the GI Bill that afforded this Greatest Generation hero a Doctorate in Clinical Psycology and a career in the VA HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATION were both Mr. and Mrs. Santorum spent their ENTIRE WORKING LIVES. So let’s get this straight,in Rick’s World,,,, Mr. and Mrs. Santorum were greedy lazy Public Servants who spent a life time on the Taxpayer’s Dole, then they Retired on the Taxpayer dime, and dared utter the two most dreaded four letter words of Rick’s Republican Base,,,,, GIVE BACK!!!!!!

    I can think of no greater insult to an American Veteran (which I assure you Santorum’s base is NOT) and all they died for than to cowardly use D-Day to “Save Putsy Ryan’s” Medicare Voucher System.

    This man is a real coward.

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