HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Nearly 22,000 Pennsylvania Republicans who voted for Lynn Swann as the GOP nominee for governor withheld their support from U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in Tuesday's primary.
Both candidates were unopposed. Mr. Swann, the former Steelers star, received 574,276 votes, while Mr. Santorum, who is seeking a third term in the Senate, drew 552,559, according to unofficial totals compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of State that were 99 percent complete today.
In the Nov. 7 general election, Mr. Swann will face Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell while Santorum is running against state Treasurer Bob Casey.
Less than six months before the election, independent polls show both Republicans lagging by double-digit margins.
But political observers say the disparity in the primary vote is a bad sign for Mr. Santorum. Democratic strategists view Mr. Santorum, the Senate's third-ranking Republican, as vulnerable partly because of his ties to President Bush, whose approval rating is sagging.
"For that many voters to go in and deliberately push the button for one candidate and not the other in uncontested races does raise some eyebrows about why voters made that choice," Christopher Borick, a Muhlenburg College political science professor, told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg for a story today.