Santorum pursues surge in Colorado, Minnesota

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If anybody can pull off the upset, it’s Mr. Santorum. Since Jan. 31, he has made appearances in Colorado every day, with additional stops in Minnesota — a hybrid of his Iowa strategy, in which he spent more time in the state than any other candidate. Last week, he received the endorsement of tea party favorite Tom Tancredo, a former congressman from Colorado.

Mr. Gingrich had positioned himself as the conservative alternative to Mr. Romney, but he appears to be all but conceding Colorado and Minnesota as he zeroes in on Super Tuesday on March 6. He made his first campaign stops here since the Nevada caucuses Monday.

The former House speaker’s absence from the campaign trail gives Mr. Santorum a clear shot at corralling the “anybody-but-Romney” vote.

Mr. Santorum laid a wreath at the Soldiers’ Field Memorial in Rochester, Minn., and gave a health care speech Monday before heading back to Colorado for two more rallies, in Golden and Denver.

Still, Mr. Romney was taking nothing for granted in Colorado, touching down for appearances Saturday, then returning Monday for a speech in Grand Junction, a fundraiser in Cherry Hills Village and a rally at Arapahoe High School in Centennial. At the same time, his campaign attempted to downplay expectations in Minnesota, with Mr. Pawlenty predicting that the race would be “very competitive.”

“I could easily see a scenario where the three or four top candidates tomorrow are bunched together towards the top of the pack,” Mr. Pawlenty, the Romney campaign’s national co-chairman, told reporters. “I can’t tell you who’s going to come out on top.”

The Public Policy Polling survey showed Mr. Santorum with 29 percent and Mr. Romney with 27 percent of the vote in Minnesota. In Colorado, Mr. Romney led with 40 percent of the vote to Mr. Santorum’s 26 percent.

Santorum’s personal likability — perhaps driven by the fact that no one has felt the need to attack him — has a lot to do with why he’s doing so well in these states,” the polling firm said in a statement.

In 2008, Mr. Romney took 60 percent of the vote in Colorado to 18 percent for Mr. McCain. In Minnesota, Mr. Romney won 41 percent to 22 percent for Mr. McCain and 16 percent for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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