Rick Santorum Suspending Presidential Campaign
Rick Santorum is about to take the stage for a press conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he will announce that he s suspending his Presidential campaign, which effectively means that the race for the Republican nomination is over:
In a surprise decision Tuesday, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) will announce that he is suspending his presidential campaign, The Huffington Post’s Jon Ward has learned and several otheroutlets have reported.
The Pennsylvania Republican had taken a break from the campaign trail for several days to tend to his ailing daughter, Bella. He had pledged to continue campaigning through the upcoming Pennsylvania primary. But the combination of his daughter’s sickness and recent poll numbers showing him possibly losing his home state apparently prompted the early departure.
The announcement is expected to come during an address in Gettysburg, Penn.
Santorum’s decision removes any lingering doubt that Mitt Romney will end up the Republican presidential nominee. The former Massachusetts Governor held a seemingly insurmountable delegate lead prior to Santorum’s departure, though his campaign was planning on spending between one and two million dollars against Santorum in Pennsylvania.
More from The New York Times:
Rick Santorum is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, according two of his advisers, bowing to the inevitability of Mitt Romney’s nomination and ending his improbable, come-from-behind quest to become the party’s conservative standard-bearer in the fall.
Mr. Santorum is due to make the announcement at a stop in his home state of Pennsylvania after a weekend in which he tended to his three-year-old daughter, Bella, who had been hospitalized with pneumonia.
The decision abruptly ends his quest for the Republican presidential nomination after weeks in which he has struggled to compete with Mr. Romney’s well-financed, highly-organized campaign apparatus.
As recently as December, Mr. Santorum was operating a shoe-string campaign in Iowa, traveling with just a handful of aides in a pickup truck. But his brand of conservative populism caught fire in Iowa, where he defeated Mr. Romney. And then it caught fire again in several Midwest primaries where he surprised Mr. Romney.
But ultimately, Mr. Santorum’s campaign struggled under a nearly-constant barrage of negative ads paid for by Mr. Romney and the “super PAC” supporting him, Restore our Future, which has spent millions in an effort to ensure that Mr. Romney captures the nomination in his second attempt.
Even as recently as last week, Mr. Santorum had argued fiercely that Mr. Romney is not sufficiently conservative on issues that matter to Republicans. And he has warned in the most blunt terms that Republicans risk losing in November to President Obama if they nominate Mr. Romney.
Given the fact that polls in Pennsylvania were starting to indicate that Mitt Romney was surging, combined with the weekend medical emergency that his youngest daughter experienced, this isn’t entirely surprising. From Santorum’s perspective it’s better to go out on a high note than to continue a hopeless battle and possible lose his home state, something that would have effectively ended his political career. There’s no word whether Santorum will endorse Romney today, but one expects that there will be some kind of “unity” event at some point in the near future, and that we’ll see Gingrich and Santorum get behind the nominee fairly quickly.
As for Santorum himself, there’s no doubt that he did far better in this race than anybody ever really expected to, including myself. It didn’t seem very likely at all that a guy who had no real national campaign organization and was being driven around Iowa by campaign volunteers would really go anywhere. Even when he surged in Iowa, ultimately winning the Caucuses there by the slimmest of slim margins, the idea that he’d last much past Florida seemed unlikely to most people who observed and commented on politics. What nobody accounted for, I think, is the impact that SuperPACs were going to have on the race and the manner in which they let a shoestring candidate like Santorum go much further than he otherwise would have. That, combined with the fact that the conservative base in the GOP spent much of January and February still wanting a way to voice their uneasiness with Mitt Romney, is what ended up helping Santorum get as far as he did. In the end, he never really had a realistic shot at the nomination, of course, but he also managed to go further than he probably should have in a very weak field, and that probably means we’ll be hearing from him again in the future whether it’s as a candidate, a commentator, or a Fox News Channel host.
And so, the 2012 Republican Presidential race comes to an end. It will still be a month or more before Mitt Romney actually earns all the delegates he needs to win the nomination, but it’s not going to matter. In the end, Mitt Romney will be nominated on the first ballot by acclimation, just as every nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1980. For all the drama, things pretty much turned out exactly the way most people thought they would a year ago, or at least once it was clear that Mike Huckabee (who was actually leading Romney in some early polling in 2011) was not running. Mitt Romney may not be the favorite candidate of the conservative/Tea Party wing of the GOP, but he beat back every single “not Romney” that was thrown at him. To be honest, in most cases, those candidates beat themselves. Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain were never serious contenders regardless of what the polls said. Rick Perry looked like he was going to be Romney’s most formidable challenger, ended up being a complete dud and an incompetent campaigner. Newt Gingrich ended up imploding like everyone knew he would. And Santorum appealed to only a narrow segment of the GOP and was never able to compete with Romney for the votes that won states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Florida. Perhaps there’s some potential candidate who didn’t run who could have beaten Romeny, but they didn’t run and Romney did. And he’s won the nomination.
There will be more postmortem’s on the nomination fight to come, no doubt. But that will be hindsight. Mark your calendars. It’s April 10th, 2012 and the General Election campaign has begun.