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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.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    It’s time for the Ron Paul rEVOLution to really kick into high gear!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  2. Gustopher says:

    Yup, clearing the field for Ron Paul.

    Unless… maybe it’s time for a Newt resurgence!

    I am disappointed by this, though, since I wanted Santorum to suffer the indignities of losing his home state. I’m not above that, I’m petty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  3. legion says:

    /YodaVoice
    “Now, only Gingrich can save us. Begun, these Clown Wars have.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. Amusing that you guys are still trying to continue the race, but it’s over

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’d love to see the primary keep going, but I was just joking. It’s Romney vs. Obama, as we all knew it would be. Paul is a joke.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. J-Dub says:

    Damn, and I was just about to make a donation to his Conservatives Unite Moneybomb: https://www.ricksantorum.com/unite/

    I really think my C.U.M. donation would have energized his campaign.

    It never gets old…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Fox News is a definite maybe for Santorum. I suspect, however, that he’ll head back to K Street.

    If as expected Obama is reelected then we might very well in 2015-2016 see Santorum again on the trail. He’s still more than young enough to make another run. It’s doutful, however, at least in my mind, that he’d go anywhere. Next time around there won’t be a Mormon frontrunner against whom the evangelical right can vote in lock step.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Bleev K says:

    Great news for America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. anjin-san says:

    The fact that Santorum and Newt still have even a little bit of relevance in national politics should give us all pause. The fact that they have more than a little relevance is kinda alarming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  10. Fiona says:

    Thank goodness he pulled out before the onslaught of campaign commercials started in Pennsylvania. We saw the first Romney commercial last night and it was nasty. Now, we can gear up for the ad wars of the presidential election. Yee-hah!

    While I’m sure the health of Santorum’s daughter (may she recover quickly) had something to do with his decision to “suspend” his campaign, I’m thinking the largest factor was the likelihood of a Romney win in his home state, putting an end to his political aspirations once and for all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  11. Hey Norm says:

    The candidates that God endorsed haven’t faired so well…Bachmann, Cain, Perry…now Santorum. I don’t think her endorsement means what it used to mean.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  12. Wow. After six months of a scorched campaign that seems to have been designed to make sure that even if Romney won the nomination he would be unelectable anyways, Santorum has the chutzpah to ask Romney to pay him for the privelege:

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/santorum-asks-help-paying-down-campaign-debt/472906

    Santorum must need a wheelbarrow to carry those balls around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Tillman says:

    @Stormy Dragon: He doesn’t want to end up like Gingrich, probably.

    @Doug Mataconis: We’re bored, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been emotionally invested in this primary slog. The highs! The many, many lows! This is better than reality television: this is reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. @Tillman:

    And so the Republicans begin their quest to end Obama’s big spending ways with the two of the candidates having run up a huge mountain of debt, which they now think the really rich candidate should be expected to help them pay off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Ron Beasley says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Perhaps Romney would be wise to pay off Santorum’s debt it he just agrees to ride off into the sunset and quit saying crazy things like:

    “One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is what I think is the danger of contraception. The whole sexual libertine idea that many in the Christian faith have said, well, it’s ok, contraception’s ok. But it’s not ok.

    It’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. It is supposed to be within marriage. It is supposed to be for purposes that are yes, conjugal and also unitive but also procreative and that’s the perfect way that sexual union should happen. When you take any part of that out, we diminish the act.

    I still think the guy must have been abused by priests when he was young.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. al-Ameda says:

    I suspect that Rick is getting out now because of the money, yet he can say that he won a few states and that he’s well-positioned to run in 2016 because of his success.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. What’s depressing to me isn’t that Rick lost; he’s a Looney Tune, he should lose. But he didn’t lose because of his totally asinine positions, he lost simply because he was outspent. Simple as that. Romney destroyed him through sheer attrition.

    That’s more depressing than someone who wants to ban porn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. anjin-san says:

    I just realized James has to spend the next few months telling us how cool Romney is. We should pass the hat and send him some very old single malt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. superdestroyer says:

    Image what 2016 will be like. By April 1, 2016, everyone will know who will be the next president since by the end of March, the Democratic nomination will be locked up. Since the Republicans will be totally irrelevant, the Democratic nominee will be the president elect starting sometime in March 2016. If the same candidate wins the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, everyone will know who will be the next president a full year before the inaugural.

    I wonder if the media will cover the Democratic nominee in 2016 the same way that Democratic primary winners are covered in DC, Maryland, Mass, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0