Ohio attorney general and former Sen. Mike DeWine endorsed former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in Columbus Friday afternoon.
DeWine had previously endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. He is the most high profile defection from Romney’s campaign so far.
“You have to give people a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better,” DeWine said in a statement. “Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not.
“For some time now, it has been clear to me that Rick Santorum should be the Republican nominee for President. To be frank, I’ve had some sleepless nights. I could not, in good conscience, beon record endorsing Governor Romney when I knew in my heart that Rick Santorum was the better candidate.”
DeWine had been a supporter of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty but backed Romney in October after Pawlenty left the race.
“I think he has both the ability to unite the party and have general election appeal,” DeWine said then of Romney. “I think the issue in this campaign is going to be jobs.
“I think people are going to feel a lot more comfortable with Mitt Romney being able to deal with this than Barack Obama.”