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Romney's Pennsylvania Ad Bomb

By , National Journal - April 9, 2012

CORRECTION: The original version of this story misstated the amount of money the Romney campaign will spend on ads in Pennsylvania. The amount is $2.9 million.

Mitt Romney spent last week trying to lower expectations in Pennsylvania while boosting the pressure on Rick Santorum. But actions speak louder than words, and it's clear Romney's advisors see the Keystone State as their opportunity to end Santorum's chances. Late Friday, the Boston team went for the jugular.

All told, Romney's campaign will spend $2.9 million on advertisements in Pennsyvlania over the next two weeks, according to PoliticsPA.com. That's more than Romney has spent in any primary state to date, save Florida -- more than they spent in Iowa, New Hampshire, even South Carolina.

A Republican strategist closely tracking the advertising market passes on details of the buy: Romney's camp is dumping more than $1 million into the Philadelphia market and more than $200,000 each into the Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre-Scranton and Erie markets. They're spending slightly less in the much cheaper Johnstown-Altoona market.

That money gets them saturation-level buys in every major Pennsylvania market except one: Santorum's home base of Pittsburgh. At a time when Santorum and his supportive super PAC aren't on the air at all, the average Pennsylvanian in those markets will see Romney's ads more than 10 times a week.

Romney doesn't have a ton of money to spend -- he had just over $7.2 million on hand at the end of February, the last figure available -- but he does get the double benefit of advertising in a potential swing state (even though Pennsylvania hasn't gone Republican since 1988). And Romney's buy makes clear his team sees their chance to end the race in decisive fashion.

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