Rick Santorum drops U.S. presidential bid

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania ended his campaign for the U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination on Tuesday, two weeks ahead of his home state's presidential primary. In addition to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Representative Ron Paul of Texas remain in the race.

Santorum campaigns at a bookstore in Independence, Iowa.
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

During his campaign, Santorum won a total of eleven contests, including those in Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas. Overall, according the Associated Press count, he accumulated 285 delegates for the nomination, several hundred short of the 661 won by Romney. 1144 delegates are needed to secure the nomination.

In his announcement, Santorum proclaimed, "We made the decision over the weekend that while this presidential race is over for me — and we will suspend this campaign effective today — we are not done fighting." He said the decision was made over the Easter weekend while spending time in a hospital with his daughter Bella, who suffers from Trisomy 18.

The Daily Caller notes the withdrawal precludes any chance of an embarrassing primary loss for Santorum in his home state of Pennsylvania. In the latest survey from Public Policy Polling, Romney led Santorum in the state by five percentage points.

After the announcement, Romney commented, "Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity." There is no word yet on any endorsement from Santorum.

Nevertheless, Newt Gingrich is vying for Santorum's supporters. In a statement, he announced his plans to remain in the race until the August 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and asked Santorum supporters "to visit Newt.org to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa."

Gingrich has secured 136 delegates, while Ron Paul has 51. Santorum will keep 201 of the delegates he won, since, per the rules, they are bound to vote for him at the convention unless he releases them. His remaining delegates are now up for grabs.