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Ohio Romney Backer Endorses Santorum

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rick Santorum keeps rolling out surprises, and the latest one comes from Ohio.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine officially switched his endorsement to Santorum from Mitt Romney on Friday as the battle escalated for the state's 66 Super Tuesday delegates.

Rick Santorum

"To be elected president, you have to do more than tear down your opponents," DeWine said in Columbus, Ohio.

DeWine's flip comes a day after a Rasmussen Reports poll showed the former Pennsylvania senator had vaulted to an 18-percentage-point lead against Romney.

Santorum has set up a makeshift headquarters in Ohio because of the state's crucial status in the GOP primary and the general election, campaign sources had said in an interview.

Ohio has the second-most delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday behind Georgia's 76 delegates. Right now Newt Gingrich leads Georgia, but Santorum showed a momentum bump there in the latest Landmark/Rosetta Stone survey .

Santorum would more than double his delegate count if he grabbed Georgia's and Ohio's 142 combined delegates. Ohio is a winner-take-all primary, while Georgia is proportional.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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