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Republican Candidates Gearing Up For Pa. Primary In Three Weeks

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(Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

(Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With the Pennsylvania primary less than three weeks away, the state is getting more attention from Democratic and Republican campaigns. But, both parties appear to be looking past the primary, to the November election.

There’s not much of a race on the Democratic side but the party’s national chairman, Debbie Schultz, came to Philadelphia to campaign, with her sites firmly set on the general election.

“We’re organizing, we’re getting ready, we’re making sure that voters in Pennsylvania and across this country understand the stark and dramatic contrast in the two directions we could go.”

Schultz called the Republican primary a “circular firing squad” but state G.O.P. communications director Valerie Caras says it’s been a good warm-up for the party and she welcomes the focus on Pennsylvania.

“We have candidates that are talking about the issues and talking about their various platforms in front of the electorate. That means that the Republican message is getting out there.”

Caras says it’s shrewd for the candidates to use the coming primary to set up the race against President Obama.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to introduce themselves to the voters and it will help build upon the momentum that we’re seeing to head into the fall.”

Caras says the organization has not endorsed a presidential candidate, despite the fact that one of them — Rick Santorum — represented the state in the Senate for two terms.

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