- - Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mitt Romney is working to win over his former rivals.

Mr. Romney is scheduled to meet with former foe Rick Santorum on Friday and is ready to pick up Newt Gingrich’s endorsement this week. The onetime rivals are expected to eventually fall in line behind the expected Republican presidential nominee.

But both Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich are looking for assurances first.

Mr. Santorum wants to make sure conservatives’ priorities are reflected in Mr. Romney’s campaign. He is looking for assurances from Romney during a private meeting but isn’t expected to offer an immediate endorsement.

And Mr. Gingrich wants to repair his reputation within the party, as well as pay down at least $4.5 million in campaign debt.

CONNECTICUT

Tong quits Senate race, endorses rival Murphy

EAST HARTFORD — Connecticut Democrat William Tong has abandoned his bid for U.S. Senate and is throwing his support behind onetime rival Congressman Christopher S. Murphy.

Gov. Dan Malloy joined the two at a news conference Tuesday and said he too is backing Mr. Murphy.

Mr. Tong, a state representative from Stamford, had gained national attention as the only Asian-American candidate for Senate this year in the continental U.S. But he was facing tough competition from Mr. Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

Mr. Murphy is looking to consolidate support less than two weeks before the state’s Democratic convention.

The nominee will face a Republican from a field including former Congressman Christopher Shays and former wrestling executive Linda McMahon. They are vying to fill the seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman, an independent.

CAMPAIGN

Romney spokesman resigns, says being gay was an issue

Mitt Romney’s national security spokesman has resigned after critics questioned his conservatism because he is gay.

Richard Grenell on Tuesday announced he has decided to leave Romney’s campaign after just a few weeks. Mr. Grenell previously worked for neoconservative former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, as well as other foreign policy hawks.

In a statement, Mr. Grenell said his “ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues” was hurt by what he called “hyperpartisan discussion of personal issues.” Mr. Grenell is gay, which has caused right-wing critics to raise questions about his conservative credentials.

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said the campaign was “disappointed” with Mr. Grenell’s decision, saying he “had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”

HOUSE

Bachus says ethics panel cleared him

The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee said Monday he’s been cleared by an ethics panel that investigated his investment activities leading up to and surrounding Congress’ $700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama Republican, said the Office of Congressional Ethics voted 6-0 on Friday to dismiss allegations that he profited from nonpublic information learned on the job. The office is a House panel run by a board that does not include current members of Congress. The committee does not announce decisions immediately.

Congress, faced with low approval ratings in an election year, acted in March to approve legislation explicitly banning lawmakers, the president and thousands of other federal workers from profiting from nonpublic information learned during their official duties. The bill, which is now law, also will let the public see more of government officials’ financial dealings, and view them online more frequently.

Mr. Bachus, a 10-term House member, easily won his March primary. He had confirmed he was under investigation in February, a day after the House passed its version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge legislation, known as the Stock Act.

Mr. Bachus has been the financial services panel’s chairman since January 2011, when Republicans retook control of the House. Before that, as the committee’s senior GOP member, he participated in closed-door briefings in September 2008 by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warning that Wall Street and the economy were in danger of a complete meltdown.

MASSACHUSETTS

Senate race most costly in nation

BOSTON — The U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is not only one of the most closely watched in the nation — it’s also turning out to be the most expensive.

Campaign donations in the contest between GOP incumbent Sen. Scott P. Brown and chief Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren already have topped $30 million, with Election Day still more than six months away.

A review of Federal Election Commission records found the next most expensive race was in Texas. Donations in the Texas race, which includes a crowded Republican primary, have neared $28.5 million.

The state with the third most expensive race in terms of total donations is Florida, where candidates have collectively pulled in more than $17 million.

Mr. Brown and Mrs. Warren have signed a pledge limiting advertising by third-party groups.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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