Former first lady-in-waiting Teresa Heinz Kerry is devoting her considerable wealth and resources to routing paleo-con Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in the 2006 election, sources say. Last time she dipped into her political war chest, it was for second husband John Kerry. This time, it’s to avenge the memory of her first husband, Republican Senator John Heinz. The sassy ketchup queen has made it a “real priority” to see challenger Robert P. Casey, Jr. unseat Santorum because “she believes Rick has ruined her late husband’s legacy,” says one highly-placed Democratic insider. Despite their differing agendas, Heinz Kerry has been hosting fundraisers and campaigning around the clock for Casey, the pro-life state treasurer, a solid she once did for Santorum.

“Teresa supported and helped Rick win in ‘94 when he ran for her late husband’s senate seat. She’s known him and his family for years; he was John’s intern, for chrissake,” notes our source. But Santorum’s increasingly right-wing rhetoric seems to have alienated his earliest backer. “No matter what John Heinz’s party was, he worked on behalf of Pennsylvanians and voted for what he believed was best for them,” says a close friend of Heinz Kerry. “She just finds it unacceptable that Rick votes with his religion. The fact of the matter is he took a constitutional oath as senator to separate church and state, which means making secular decisions.” His comments equating homosexuality with “man on dog” love couldn’t have helped either.