Lehigh Valley Republican congressman Charlie Dent will endorse Mitt Romney for president at an event in Harrisburg Tuesday, sources confirm. Dent will make just the second Pennsylvanian to endorse the former Massachusetts governor in the 2012 presidential contest.
Area U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, whose 6th district includes parts of Montgomery and Berks counties endorsed Romney in November 2011.
The Romney campaign announced Monday late afternoon it would be holding a press conference in the state capitol building to announce congressional and local endorsements.
Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's former U.S. senator, has the backing of U.S. congressmen Lou Barletta, 11th district; Tom Marino, 10th district; and Glenn Thompson, 5th district, none of whom worked with Santorum in Washington. Santorum also has the support of 15 state senators, including President pro tempore Joe Scarnati and Appropriations committee Chairman Jake Corman.
But most of Pennsylvania's high profile ranking Republicans, including Gov. Tom Corbett and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, have stayed out of the primary race, although Toomey did recently tweet his support of Romney's tax plan. Some insiders say there are many GOP Pennsylvania politicians who privately support Romney but don't want to offend Santorum who they've worked with and known for years.
Dent had hinted his support for Romney when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced officially he wouldn't run. Dent, who had encouraged Christie to get in the race, told the Morning Call in October 2011, "I think Romney can be sold in every region of the country."
Dent and Romney share political similarities. Both men have long been considered centrists, who are targeted by the right for not being conservative enough and lambasted by the left for shifting too far from center to keep up with the shifting conservative priorities of the Republican party.
The Pennsylvania primary is on April 24.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times