The Louisiana Republican primary is tomorrow. Here are ten things you need to know today.
- Rick Santorum leads in Louisiana: The Louisiana Republican primary looks like it will be won by former Senator Rick Santorum, who has led the four polls of the state released over the last week. Very early Friday morning Public Policy Polling (D) released numbers that showed him up fourteen points ahead of Saturday’s vote.
- Candidates all talking energy before LA primary: The New Oreleans Times-Picayune reports that with all four remaining GOP presidential candidates in the state, all anyone seems to be talking about is energy. Louisiana has a large large oil and gas industry and is home to a large portion of off shore drilling so often mentioned in campaigns. “It is the ‘silver bullet,’ said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has rebranded himself the candidate of $2.50-a-gallon gasoline, during an appearance Wednesday in Pineville,” the paper reported about more calls for drilling from the candidates. Read the whole piece here.
- Santorum says Obama a better choice than Romney: In a departure from Republican orthodoxy, Rick Santorum said that re-electing President Obama would be a better choice than electing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as President. Republicans like to say they follow the “eleventh commandment,” which was former President Ronald Reagan’s principle that “thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” The Romney team jumped all over the Santorum statement as an attack on a fellow GOPer.
- Santorum spoke to Messianic Jewish group: Rick Santorum failed to disclose over $95,000 in speaking fees, including a six thousand dollar fee from the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America in 2010, POLITICO reports. The group celebrates Jewish heritage and traditions but believes Jesus is the son of God, and the group’s CEO Joel Chernoff told the website that while he supports Santorum personally it wasn’t an official endorsement of the former Senator.
- Etch-A-Sketch meme continues: The statement from Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom that the general election will provide an Etch-A-Sketch moment, allowing his team to wipe the slate clean as Republicans go into the general election, has been spread far and wide an a perfect example of Mitt Romney’s not so solid positions on the issues. Now after days of media attention, the theme has moved to the next iteration — fundraising. Both the Santorum and Gingrich campaigns sent out emails highlighting the gaffe and asking for cash, saying it brings out the concern Republicans have a had all along — Romney’s not a true conservative.
- Mitt Romney pens anti-health care reform law op-ed: “What we need is a free market, federalist approach to making quality, affordable health insurance available to every American,” Mitt Romney wrote in an op-ed on President Obama’s signature health care law, released the night before its two year anniversary. “Each state should be allowed to pursue its own solution in this regard, instead of being dictated to by Washington.” Democrats immediately shot back, especially against the idea that the new law will lessen Medicare coverage. “Even as he’s strengthened Medicare’s finances, the President has improved benefits by closing the prescription drug doughnut hole - saving seniors thousands of dollars a year,” The DNC wrote in an email to reporters. “Mitt Romney, on the other hand, would take away these new benefits for seniors and leave Medicare to reach it’s solvency date in just 4 years.”
- Trump thinks Ryan budget could hurt GOP: Real estate investor and always-posible candidate for president Donald Trump tweeted that Republicans may want to think twice about touting the budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). “Paul Ryan’s budget is very dangerous for the Republicans—just before the election—be careful!” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
- AFP hits Kerrey in Nebraska: Conservatives are seeking to hobble the campaign of former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey before his campaign for the seat he once held even starts. A new Americans For Prosperity ad hits the former senator with lines like, “Kerrey may have become more “liberal” during his time in New York, but Nebraskans remain opposed to his big government ideology.” Watch it here.
- Campaign Finance Institute publishes analysis: A analysis of presidential campaign fundraising numbers shows that President Obama still continues to raise more cash from small donors, but the percentage of his total haul from small givers has dropped from last month. Mitt Romney continues to raise most of his funds from donors who “max out,” according to the organization, “more so than any candidate in recent years whose campaign remained active at this stage.”
- Candidates in Louisiana today: All four Republican candidates will be in Louisiana today before Saturday’s primary vote, holding a number of town hall meetings and rallys.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.