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Is support for Santorum growing in the North Country?
February 28, 2012 - Chris Morris
I know, I know ... I'm usually the first person to make fun of blog posts that pose a question in the headline. But they do grab your attention, right?
On Monday, I spoke to Doug Hoffman, a Lake Placid accountant who may or may not run again for New York's 23rd Congressional District seat. He's still undecided, and waiting patiently (impatiently?) for the new congressional lines to come out.
But regardless of the NY-23 race, Hoffman is one of the Republican delegates from the 20th District for the upcoming presidential primary. And he's supporting former Pennsylvania senator and tea party favorite Rick Santorum.
He's not alone, either. Mary A. Ziegler, another delegate from NY-20, is also supporting Santorum. In the 23rd District, Santorum is being backed by former state Supreme Court Justice Jan Plumadore and Essex County Republican Elections Commissioner Derinda Sherman, according to a list of filings for the presidential primary released last week by the state Board of Elections.
A breakdown of the other delegates from both NY-20 and NY-23 shows a pretty even split between all four front-runners: Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.
But Santorum also ran away with an unofficial straw poll taken by the Upstate New York Tea Party during a mixer on Friday in Plattsburgh.
UNYTEA Chairman Mark Barie told me this morning that out of 50 or so people, Santorum drew 45 percent of the vote. Romney was next with about 27 percent, and Paul and Gingrich were a distant third and fourth.
"Santorum comes across as a reliable conservative, as opposed to Romney, who has, too put it politely, evolved on a number of issues," Barie said. "Others would say he changed his views when it was politically expedient. Santorum has been consistent."
Barie was quick to point out that UNYTEA members tend to be more conservative than other Republicans.
At the end of the day, the delegates and the tea party members represent only a fraction of Republican voters in the North Country, so it's tough to draw any conclusions about how much support Santorum has in our corner of the state. But support from Hoffman, Barie and Plumadore can't be ignored, either.
Voters in Michigan and Arizona will let us know how they feel today. What about you? Is Rick Santorum's campaign resonating with you? What about Romney, Paul and Gingrich? Or are you holding out until the convention for a surprise candidate?
Your thoughts are welcome.
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