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Rick Santorum ends presidential campaign

A week after failing to defeat Mitt Romney in Wisconsin’s Republican primary – portrayed by the traditional media as a make-it or break-it moment for his candidacy – Rick Santorum announced at a press conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that he was ending his presidential campaign.

He did not endorse Mitt Romney, who now appears to be a lock for the Republican nomination, nor did he indicate whether he would release delegates already pledged to him. Instead, he kept his remarks focused on his gratitude for his family and his supporters, who he credited with helping keep his campaign alive.

In a message posted to his website, Santorum stuck to the same theme.

“Today I announced that I am suspending my campaign for the President of the United States. This has been one of the hardest decisions Karen and I have ever had to face together,” he wrote. “And it has been hard in large measure because of you. I know that my candidacy has offered you a way to fight for your convictions, and I do not want to let you down.”

However, Santorum did indicate (briefly) that his campaign team had recently come to the conclusion that Mitt Romney’s delegate lead was insurmountable.

“Our good friends in Texas have been working non-stop to make sure that they have a say in the choice of our nominee, but without the state changing its delegate allocation to winner-take-all, I do not see a path forward that does not risk our shared objective of defeating Barack Obama in November.”

To be competitive with Romney going forward, Santorum would have needed more than just a win in Pennsylvania and a win (plus a rules change) in Texas. He would have needed to find a way to convince voters in regions of the country where he has done pretty poorly to back his candidacy.

(Delegate-rich states on the coasts like New York and California have not yet weighed in and were expected to be pro-Romney).

Ironically, Rick Santorum’s other rival, Newt Gingrich, continues to say that he is staying in the race. Gingrich has won just two states so far – his home state of Georgia and its northern neighbor, South Carolina – but in other states, he has effectively helped propel Mitt Romney to victory by splitting the conservative vote.

Had Gingrich left the race after New Hampshire, or even after Super Tuesday, Santorum might have been a position to keep going, at least for a while longer. Santorum probably could have captured South Carolina and Georgia had Gingrich called it quits in advance of those states’ primaries.

It’s also possible Santorum could have won in Alaska, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin had Gingrich allowed he and Romney to battle it out alone.

Conservative activists reacted to Santorum’s announcement with dismay. On FreeRepublic, a popular conservative message board, posters expressed strong anti-Romney sentiment. Here’s a sampling of some of the comments.

I’ve seen 3 freepers who I have hardly seen in one minute post unite behind Romney lets beat Obama

The Romney bots have been waiting for some time to get on here and tell us to unite and they will use the usual crap of us hating Obama and we have to unite to beat him.

All of his paid staffers will be here soon you watch.

Oh well, time for me to start looking for a different political party. Still not voting for Romney.

—  kreitzer

I hope he does not endorse Romney…..

sheikdetailfeather

The Tea Party/Independents need to field a presidential candidate this fall because I hope the GOP/Romneyites lose this election.

upsdriver

This particular comment, left by a disgruntled Gingrich supporter, was my favorite:

well… Santorum succeeded in clearing the way for Mittens *sigh*

now that his job is done, time to quit.

I hope everyone that supported Santorum is happy with the result!

If you had just gotten behind Gingrich, we could of had a REAL conservative as our nominee.

TexasFreeper2009

Yeah, that’s right. If only conservative activists had coalesced around Newt Gingrich – the epitome of family values – Mitt Romney would be the one out of the race by now! You tell ‘em, Texas Freeper! Tell ‘em how wrong they were!

Santorum’s rivals, of course, had a very different reaction to the news. On Twitter, Mitt Romney briefly saluted Santorum, saying, “Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran.”

Meanwhile, Ron Paul’s national campaign chairman, Jesse Benton, released a brief statement urging Santorum supporters to coalesce around Paul’s candidacy. “Congratulations to Senator Santorum on running such a spirited campaign. Dr. Paul is now the last – and real – conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. We plan to continue running hard, secure delegates, and press the fight for limited, constitutional government in Tampa,” said Benton.

Gingrich also wasted no time in making a play for Santorum’s supporters.

“I am committed to staying in this race all the way to Tampa so that the conservative movement has a real choice,” Gingrich announced in a statement. “I humbly ask Senator Santorum’s supporters to visit Newt dot org to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa. We know well that only a conservative can protect life, defend the Constitution, restore jobs and growth and return to a balanced budget.”

Considering that Paul has won no states and that Gingrich has won only two, the likelihood of either of them being able to prevent Mitt Romney from sewing up the Republican presidential nomination in advance of the national convention in Tampa seems remote. They can continue campaigning if they want.

Romney, of course, won’t regard either of them as a serious threat. Neither will the traditional media, Beltway pundits, or the Republican establishment.

One Comment

  1. Posted April 10th, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    Now the speculation on a VP begins.