Ohio Attorney General Switches From Romney To Santorum

Former Senator, and current Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine is switching his support from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum:

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has had a change of heart.

The prominent Buckeye State Republican plans to throw his support behind presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Friday afternoon, switching his allegiance from Mitt Romney to the former Pennsylvania senator.

A source familiar with the endorsement plans told ABC News that DeWine will make the announcement on Friday in front of the Ohio State House in Columbus.

Santorum will become the third presidential candidate DeWine backed during the primary season. The former U.S. Senator who served alongside Santorum in Washington, originally endorsed Tim Pawlenty before moving to Romney after Pawlenty dropped out of the race.

(…)

DeWine served for two terms in the U.S. Senate and four in the House of Representatives. He announced his endorsement of Romney in last October.

“Americans can choose a president that believes in the greatness of America or can choose a president that would rather engage in class warfare and partisan bickering than work to solve America’s problems,” DeWine said of Romney back then in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

The importance of endorsements is often overstated, but I’ve got to agree with Steve Benen that this story matters, and caps off what has been another bad week for Romney:

DeWine holds a significant post in a key state, and enjoys strong statewide name recognition, but it’s a stretch to think he commands a legion of GOP supporters.

The story matters, though, because of the larger context: Romney has had ups and downs over the last several months, but the one constant, which has helped him weather every storm, has been the support he’s received from much of the Republican Party establishment. No matter who was winning at the time, no high-profile supporters have abandoned Romney — until this afternoon.

Romney’s principal worry isn’t that DeWine will shift a massive number of votes to Santorum, bur rather, that DeWine is a crack in the ice.

Indeed. Before DeWine’s switch Romney had the support of every prominent statewide Republican in Ohio with the exception of Governor Kaisch, who has not endorsed anyone as of now. DeWine is a conservative, but he’s also part of the political establishment in Ohio, which had been lined up firmly behind Romney until now. Even if nobody else switches, this harms Romney’s inevitability argument and caps off what has been a fairly bad two weeks for the campaign that started with the losses in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. With ten days of campaigning left in neighboring Michigan, and Santorum surging into the lead in Ohio, this is hardly the way Romney wanted to cap off a Friday.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    I think stories of “So-and-So switches endorsement” get a lot more attention than the original endorsements.

    More bad news for Romney. And, when Romney wins the nomination (battered, and covered in a frothy mixture of mud, slime and ooze) DeWine is probably not going to be on any short list for anything Romney related.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    While I still think Romney is inevitably the nominee (although doubts are slowly creeping in), I have been fascinated by one factor.

    It seems that mass appeal (or the lack thereof for Romney) is counting for more than the massive ground game Romney has built in key states. In any other race, at any other time, Santorum wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in Michigan and Ohio. Romney by all accounts should be the only person in the game in these states.

  3. de stijl says:

    My first impression was not about Romney or Santorum but about DeWine. Another perfectly lubricated political wind-vane just like Romney.

  4. JohnMcC says:

    On a sailboat if you dab a little spit on your fingers and wet both ears, then turn your head until you feel the breeze equally on both, you are looking at what is technically called the ‘apparent wind’. I think Mr DeWine has mastered the technique.

  5. Tillman says:

    @Gustopher:

    I think stories of “So-and-So switches endorsement” get a lot more attention than the original endorsements.

    They shouldn’t?