The Kansas caucuses are tomorrow. Here are ten things you need to know today.
- Santorum looks like a lock in Kansas: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum may win Saturday’s Kansas Republican caucuses by default, as the Kansas City Star reports all the other candidates except for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have left him alone in the state. With large numbers of social conservatives in the state and a caucus structure that favors activists, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich cancelled a trip earlier this week.
- Santorum acting like frontrunner in Alabama: In a speech to the Alabama Policy Institute, a conservative think tank in the state, Santorum took aim at President Obama more than his Republican rivals, according to a report from the Birmingham News. But when he did, it was to say that he’s on his way to victory. Pushing back against the idea of a brokered convention, Santorum said, “I don’t think that’ll happen. I believe once it gets down to one-on-one, conservatives will rally behind us and give us the opportunity that Gov. Romney has already had,” the paper wrote.
- Romney endorsed by Mississippi Gov.: Romney, campaigning in Mississippi yesterday, was endorsed by the state’s Governor, Phil Bryant. “I am encouraged and supportive of Gov. Romney’s conservative policies on key issues like more American energy development, cracking down on illegal immigration, and putting in place job creation policies that will jumpstart our economy,” the Governor said in a release sent out by the campaign.
- Gingrich pumps gas in Alabama: Newt Gingrich, pinning his presidential hopes to a comeback based on his promises to bring gas prices down to less than $2.50 a gallon, delivered a soliloquy to the fossil fuels yesterday while at a campaign stop at a gas station in Birmingham, Alabama. “This is real,” he said, with his finger on a pump handle at a filling station. “It’s not a fairy, it’s not a fantasy. It’s not a fundraiser in San Francisco. It is the way the American people fill their cars, fill their trucks,” Gingrich said in a video captured by The Hill, mocking President Obama’s efforts to ramp up green energy production in the US.
- Romney takes a page from Newt on energy: Romney may be listening to Gingrich on the trail, because he used the vote pushed by Republicans on the Keystone XL pipeline to hit President Obama on the subject. “”President Obama has once again blocked the Keystone XL pipeline today. He personally lobbied Senate Democrats to vote against the project, asking them to eliminate jobs and reroute desperately needed Canadian oil away from the United States and toward China. This decision makes a mockery of his so-called ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy and is the latest reminder that he has taken unprecedented steps to stifle energy production and drive up energy prices in this country, all while wasting billions of dollars on failed green projects,” Romney said in a statement.
- Ron Paul still says he’s in the fight: Ron Paul continues to push back against the notion that he’s losing hard in the GOP presidential nomination process. “The fact is, just like in many of the earlier contests, very few delegates to the Republican National Convention were decided on Tuesday. Most will be decided several weeks, or even months, from now at District and State conventions - conventions where our local delegates will have a big say in who goes to Tampa,” his campaign wrote in a fundraising email entitled “My Status as a Candidate.” It continued, “In fact, while I didn’t win any state’s straw polls, my team expects me to win a plurality of delegates in at least three states, as well as outright majorities in two more of the states that have already started their process.”
- Kucinich doesn’t close the door on a Washington state run: In an interview with CBS, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who lost a Democratic primary to Rep. Marcy Kaptur for a newly redistricted Ohio seat on Super Tuesday, didn’t say no to a possible run in Washington state. “We’ll see what the next few days and months bring,” Kucinich said according to CBS’s Political Hotsheet. “I haven’t made any plans.” Kucinich has two months to decide, and there are multiple open seats in the state that were previously represented by Democrats.
- Hatch fights for his seat in Utah: Sen. Orin Hatch will have his career in the Senate on the line in Utah at the state Republican Party’s caucuses on March 15th. The caucuses choose the delegates to the state convention, who then choose who the party’s nominee will be for the various offices on the ballot. Former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) was defeated by Tea Party activists seeking to move the party to the right through stracking the convention goers, and they hope to do the same to Hatch. “We’ve been at this campaign for a year and our focus has been on the caucuses,” Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen told The Hill. “We take them very seriously. Are we focused on them? Absolutely.”
- Santorum goes from Alabama to Kansas today: Santorum will start campaigning today at a “Rally for Rick” in Mobile, Alabama and head on to similar events in Topeka and Wichita, Kansas in the afternoon.
- Romney moves across the deep south: After appearing with new endorsee Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant last night in the state, Romney starts the day in Jackson, MS at a farmer’s market and then heads to a campaign event at Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Alabama.
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.