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Politics & Government

Santorum’s Decision Could Impact Down-Ticket Races

With Rick Santorum out of the presidential race, Pennsylvania Republicans have lost the biggest get-out-the-vote rallying cry they had. Now party leaders are wondering what will happen to the other races facing Pennsylvania Republican voters.

"This was the marquee election on the ballot," said Muhlenberg College political science professor Christopher Borick. "For the marginal voter who would be interested in that race and not very interested in anything else, the likelihood that they show up is going to be lower."

The impact could be felt the most by Republican candidates who are facing Democratic opponents in special elections scheduled on the primary day. There are six such races across the state, including the 22nd legislative district in Pittsburgh, which was vacated by Democrat Chelsa Wagner when she moved into the Allegheny County Controller's seat in January.

The loss of Santorum could also impact statewide races, including the U.S. Senate race where five Republicans are vying to take on Democratic incumbent Bob Casey.

"It'll be interesting to see if those candidates now stand out in that field and if any have an advantage, which, in a situation where we're likely to see lower turnout among GOP voters in the state. So it was unclear and I think it remains unclear," said Borick.

The conservative candidates could be harder hit than those with more moderate appeal.