Tri-Citians will have a chance to get up close and personal with a third presidential candidate as Rick Santorum visits Pasco tonight.
Santorum will have a "Rally for Rick" at 6:30 p.m. at the Pasco Red Lion to court Republican voters in Saturday's nonbinding state caucuses.
Santorum, a former U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania, is seeking the Republican nomination for president in a campaign field that also includes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and current Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Santorum will swing through Washington today for a second round of campaigning before the Republican caucuses Saturday.
Santorum visited Western Washington earlier this month. This will be his first Tri-Cities visit.
Paul and Gingrich also have campaigned in the Tri-Cities in the past several days, and Romney's campaign sent his son Josh Romney to Kennewick last week.
Romney was the early frontrunner for the GOP nomination after strong showings in New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada, but Santorum seized the momentum with wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.
The tide shifted back in Romney's favor on Tuesday with wins in Arizona and Michigan, his birth state.
But although Romney won the popular vote in Michigan, he and Santorum ended up evenly splitting the state's delegates, leading Santorum to describe the night as a victory for his campaign, The Associated Press reported.
A candidate needs to win 1,140 delegates to secure the nomination at the GOP national convention in August. So far, Romney has 167 delegates, Santorum has 87, Gingrich has 32 and Paul has 19.
The Associated Press reported 1,979 delegates remain up for grabs.
Washington is the last contest before "Super Tuesday" next week -- when delegates in 10 states will be apportioned -- and the Tri-Cities has become a focal point for Republican candidates hoping to court caucus voters.
The Romney and Santorum campaigns traded email barbs Wednesday, with Romney supporters calling on Santorum to "stop teaming up with Democrats in future Republican caucuses," while Santorum responded that "Romney should stop being a Democrat."
The Santorum event is free and open to anyone.