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Santorum concedes

Election '06 | Pennsylvania incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum has called his challenger, State Treasurer Bob Casey, to concede

Pennsylvania incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum has called his challenger, State Treasurer Bob Casey, to concede. Casey, in toppling the upper chamber's No. 3 man, is poised to become the first state Democrat elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate since 1962.

Casey, the Catholic son of a former pro-life governor, has tried to siphon values voters away from his Republican opponent by positioning himself as a moderate but faith-friendly alternative to Santorum's alleged far-right extremism. But if the Christian conservative base has failed to rally behind Santorum, the decision may have had less to do with Casey -- who favors same-sex civil unions and the morning-after pill -- than with a grudge against Santorum. In the 2004 primary, Christian conservatives felt betrayed when Santorum, an outspoken champion of conservative social issues, endorsed liberal Sen. Arlen Specter over conservative Pat Toomey.

But one Philadelphia Democrat, Urban Family Council founder Bill Devlin, organized election day prayer and fasting and urged values voters from both parties to re-elect Santorum because of his solid pro-family record.

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"Do you understand the Christian concept of forgiveness? Let's move on and let's work together for Rick Santorum's re-election." Devlin said. "Unfortunately, the hard-boiled conservatives ... are very acidic, acerbic, and caustic."

An Associated Press exit poll revealed that, of those who voted for Casey, only a slight majority did so to show their support of Casey as opposed to their dislike of Santorum.

From the beginning, Santorum has fought an uphill battle against Casey, with polls of likely voters consistently favoring the challenger. In a last stride before the election, the Santorum campaign touted a poll that shrunk his deficit to four points, but the Casey campaign passed along news that the Republican who had conducted the poll was under indictment for forgery, perjury, and election fraud. Other polls released at the same time gave Casey a double digit lead.

Devlin fears that GOP bitterness will put the future of the Supreme Court in jeopardy. He also echoed Santorum's concern that Casey has betrayed his father's pro-life legacy. While in favor of overturning Roe vs. Wade, Casey disagrees that the morning-after pill is an abortifacient, and has made contradictory statements about embryonic stem cell research.

"As someone who knew his father, Bob Casey Jr. scares me to death.," Devlin said. "If you begin to scratch beneath the surface, number one, he's not really pro-life, and secondly, he's not going to be a champion for life when he gets to the senate."

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