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Santorum cancels Pennsylvania appearance tonight


LANCASTER, Pa. — Republican leaders in one of the most reliable Republican counties in Pennsylvania are still reeling over Rick Santorum’s cancellation just 24 hours ago of a long-scheduled appearance at the county party’s banquet Tuesday night.

The event in Lancaster County — which is expected to draw over 1,100 Republicans to the Marriott Convention Center — had been billed as a joint appearance between presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  As of Monday morning, all three were considered on target to attend, and both Romney and Gingrich are confirmed to speak.

But not former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum, whose office called County Republican Party Executive Director Justin Quinn Monday morning to say that the former presidential candidate (who suspended his campaign just over a week ago) wasn’t coming.  Sources within the party told Human Events he gave no reason for the cancellation.

“We are very disappointed Sen. Santorum isn’t coming,” Ann Womble, endorsed candidate for national convention delegate in the April 24 primary, told us. “We had hoped he was going to use this as an opportunity to endorse Gov. Romney.  It would have been a unifying moment this week. But it is not to be.”  (Womble is uncommitted to any candidate and said she is “awaiting the results of the primary to make a decision.”)

Womble, Quinn and other party leaders said the “no show” decision by Santorum took them by surprise.  While the former senator may endorse Romney soon, he is obviously not ready to do so now.