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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Rick Santorum Ends Presidential Bid

Surrounded by his family Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announces he is suspending his candidacy.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

photo of Jill Lawrence
April 10, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, the socially conservative former senator who was Mitt Romney’s chief remaining rival for the GOP nomination, said on Tuesday he was suspending his White House bid.

Santorum announced his decision in Gettysburg, a day after his 3-year-old daughter, Bella, was released from the hospital. It was the second time the toddler, who has a severe genetic disorder called Trisomy 18, had been hospitalized during his campaign.

"This presidential race for us is over ... and we will suspend our campaign effective today," Santorum said as he stood surrounded by his family. 

 

A campaign staffer told National Journal that Santorum broke the news to staff in a 1:30 p.m. conference call. His wife, Karen, also got on the phone to thank everyone for their hard work.

Santorum did not endorse Romney in his Gettysburg speech. But John Brabender, Santorum's senior strategist, said Santorum had spoken to Romney and that Romney requested a meeting in the "near future."

"This race was as improbable as any race that you will ever see for president," Santorum said, referring to his shoestring operation that started out with tireless traipsing across Iowa.

The grassroots approach yielded a belated 34-vote victory in the lead-off Iowa caucuses after a recount. Santorum went on to win primaries and caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. But as of Tuesday he had only 285 convention delegates toward the 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination, less than half of Romney’s total, according to an Associated Press count.

Polls showed Santorum was in for a tough fight April 24 in his home state primary in Pennsylvania. He had called it a must-win and was trying to make a comeback after a stinging defeat in 2006. That year, he lost his bid for re-election to the Senate by 17 points.

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