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Santorum spokesman blames ‘vitriol’ against candidate for expected DC loss

Gidley is right — Santorum won't pick up a single vote in Tuesday's District of Columbia Republican primary. But that's because he failed to pay the required fee to get on D.C.'s ballot, and the city's Republican Party opted against allowing write-in votes for their primary.

Still, Santorum's campaign was looking to frame its organizational error as a stain on GOP front-runner Mitt Romney. The District will award 19 delegates in Tuesday's contest.

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"Obviously Wisconsin is going to be a close race, we're not sure about Maryland or Washington, D.C.," Gidley said Tuesday on MSNBC. "We expect Mitt Romney to do well in the D.C., area, no shock there, in fact it might even be unanimous — I don't know that we'll pick up a single vote in D.C. because of the vitriol D.C. has for a someone like Rick Santorum who wants to shake things up here in Washington."

Santorum's spokesman also worked to shift focus from the evening's primaries to next week's contests, which include Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania.

"This is a long process, we have a long way to go, Pennsylvania will play a huge role," Gidley said.

But Gidley disputed the notion that Santorum's eroding lead in the state reflected voters coalescing around Romney as the eventual nominee.

"Pennsylvania is a diverse and large state, but it also reflects the fact Mitt Romney has spent a ton on robocalls," Gidley said.

The Santorum aide said Romney was "playing for keeps" in the Keystone State, and accused the former governor of negative campaigning.

"Make no mistake, Mitt Romney is doing the same thing he has done everywhere else — spent a ton of money to tear down his opponents," Gidley said.

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