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Gingrich: Santorum Has to Win Pennsylvania Gingrich: Santorum Has to Win Pennsylvania

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field

campaign 2012

Gingrich: Santorum Has to Win Pennsylvania

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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks to a crowd at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., Tuesday.(AP Photo/Kita Wright)

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich asserted Saturday that Republican rival Rick Santorum needs to win his home state of Pennsylvania to keep his campaign alive.

“Look, I said before Michigan, Romney has to win Michigan,” Gingrich told the National Journal in an interview. “I have to win Georgia, and Rick has to win Pennsylvania. It’s not complicated.”

 

Gingrich added, “He’s got to win it, and he should win it.”

Gingrich has won only two primaries himself, one of them his home state of Georgia. By contrast, Santorum has won 10 and is favored to win today’s primary in Louisiana.

Pennsylvania holds its primary April 24, one of five states with contests that day. Before losing his bid for reelection in 2006, Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the Senate for 12 years and before that, held a congressional district seat near Pittsburgh from 1991 to 1995.

 

But his home-field edge hasn’t quelled speculation Santorum could be vulnerable here against front-runner Mitt Romney, who could appeal to Republicans in the state’s moderate Philadelphia suburbs.

Gingrich was in the former senator’s home state to speak before the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, an annual gathering of conservatives not far from the state’s capital of Harrisburg. The former speaker, who sarcastically ribbed President Obama’s energy policy for most of his remarks, delivered his address several hours after Santorum spoke at the conference, and he appeared to elicit at least as much enthusiasm from the crowd.

“It’s clear if you watch the audience in here, there’s a base to run as an alternative to Santorum,” Gingrich said in the interview. “It’s not automatic.”

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