Rick Santorum would be a better gubernatorial candidate than Tom Corbett

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Keegan Gibson at PoliticsPA recently interviewed over a dozen Republican elected officials, party leaders and operatives, and found that rumors are swirling about the possibility of the GOP nominating someone other than Governor Tom Corbett in 2014.

According to PoliticsPA, “the biggest concern driving off-the-record critics in SEPA” is “that Corbett’s poor numbers will risk otherwise healthy down-ballot Republicans” and put the GOP legislative majorities in the General Assembly at risk.

Most of the sources PoliticsPA interviewed said Senator Pat Toomey would be the best candidate to replace Corbett, but PoliticsPA also included Congressmen Jim Gerlach, Mike Kelly, and Pat Meehan in their list of viable successors, as well as state Senator Dominic Pileggi and Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley.

It’s pretty clear that any of those guys would be a better candidate than Corbett at this point. However, none of them appear very willing to run in so toxic a political environment. At this stage in the game, only a true believer and devout conservative crusader would be crazy enough to carry the gubernatorial banner.

Here’s my suggestion to the PA GOP (somewhere between trolling and serious):

Even Rick Santorum would be a better gubernatorial candidate than Governor Corbett.

Crazy, right? Let me explain.

The more moderate Republicans (Meehan and Gerlach) are too politically savvy to run in this environment. If Governor Corbett steps out of the race, the PA GOP might be best-suited by nominating somebody who will at the very least energize their base to show up at the polls in November. Rick Santorum will bring the paleo-Republicans out to the polls and give them a reason to knock doors and make calls.

Furthermore, Santorum would bring in a boatload of outside money which will be crucial for any chance of a Republican victory. In 2012, Santorum had a sizeable group of eccentric millionaires who were willing to send million dollar checks to his super PAC.

For example, the pro-Santorum Red White and Blue Fund received $1.6 million from Foster Friess, $1.5 million from William Dore, and $1 million Annette Simmons. None of the above-mentioned potential successors could tap into those resources.

Santorum would also have a statewide support network to re-activate from his 2000 and 2006 runs, and many of his former staffers still operate in the Keystone State.

Additionally, Santorum is a Penn State graduate, which would blunt a great deal of the anti-Corbett fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Finally, Santorum ran on a platform of what I’m calling “sweater vest populism” that if properly utilized, could woo some working class conservatives enough to show up on Election Day.

The only potential hang up in a Santorum gubernatorial bid would be his questionable residency.  Santorum owns two homes, one in Virginia and one in Penn Hills, PA. His Penn Hills home is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse where he supposedly “resided” with his wife and six children for much of his time in the U.S. House and Senate.

To be eligible to run for Governor, a candidate must have been a Pennsylvania resident for at least seven years before election. If Santorum no longer claims the Penn Hills home as his residence, he would be barred from running.

My argument is not that Rick Santorum would be a winning candidate. I am only saying that he would be a better candidate than Tom Corbett, and that he is the only candidate crazy enough to run. Santorum isn’t a political thinker, he’s a strict moralist who would gladly go down with the ship.

I just want some entertainment in 2014, and his candidacy would really allow us progressives to embrace our inner man-on-dog.

About Jake Sternberger

Jake Sternberger was a contributing writer at Keystone Politics from 2011 to 2014.
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5 Responses to Rick Santorum would be a better gubernatorial candidate than Tom Corbett

  1. Albert Brooks says:

    Jeez, Rick just needs and armband and a moustache. He’d cost the Republicans more then it would be worth.

  2. phillydem says:

    The problem with this scenario is that Santorum no longer lives in Pennsylvania. He moved permanently to his VA residence after losing to Bob Casey.

  3. wayne says:

    …..my dog, Lucy, would be a better candidate than Corbett. My cat would be a better candidate than Frothy….both are available, by the way…..

  4. Pingback: 10/9 Morning Buzz | PoliticsPA

  5. Pam says:

    “We used to use aspirin for that” – favorite line from Friess – infuriating but entertaining.