Santorum Suspends Campaign, But Is This the Last of Him?

BY Neal Broverman

April 10 2012 1:05 PM ET

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is suspending his campaign after taking a thumping in recent primaries, confronting declining poll numbers in his home state of Pennsylvania, and facing the care of an ailing daughter.

Santorum announced Tuesday in Pennsylvania that he's suspending his campaign. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has gained a considerable amount of delegates in recent weeks, a development that had pundits talking about the impossibility of the math that would lead to a Santorum nomination. According to polls, Santorum increasingly faced the possibility of losing the Pennsylvania primary, which would be a highly embarrassing defeat. Santorum's 3-year-old daughter Bella had only just come home from the hospital after a bout with pneumonia, which perhaps contributed to his decision. (Read more here.)

While the archconservative former senator is ending his campaign, he surprised many by, for a time, posing a strong challenge to front-runner Romney. The staunchly antigay Santorum's rise demonstrates that political use of homophobia is far from a thing of the past. (Read more in The Advocate's current cover story.)  



For his part, Romney called his former rival a "worthy competitor" who "has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation."

This might not be the last LGBT voters have seen of Santorum, though. The Human Rights Campaign first warned about the prospect of him being picked as a vice-presidential candidate after Santorum won Iowa. Then he kept winning states and taking with him evangelical and born-again Christian voters who haven't warmed to Romney.

As a rule during the primary season, Romney lost in any state where exit polls showed a majority of voters were evangelical. And either Gingrich or Santorum took advantage — more often, Santorum.

Furthering the possibility of a Santorum pick for VP were the candidate's own comments at the end of March. During an appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network, he was asked whether he'd serve as vice president on a Romney ticket.

"Of course," he said, which isn't how most contenders answer that question. Usually they sidestep and say they're focused on running for president.  "As I always say, this is the most important race in our country's history," he went on. "I'm going to do everything I can. I'm doing everything I can." Then adding, "I'll do whatever is necessary to help our country."


As most candidates do when they bow out, Santorum pledged Tuesday to fight onward.


"While this presidential race for us is over," he said, "for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting."

Log Cabin Republicans said Tuesday that with Santorum's exit, the GOP "can reach out and win with a stronger, more inclusive position.'

"The departure of Rick Santorum's divisive social politics from the race puts moderate, independent and younger conservative voters in play," Log Cabin executive director R. Clarke Cooper said in a statement. "The time is now for the Republican Party to capitalize by presenting an inclusive, united front focused on economic growth, exploration of natural resources and defending national interests abroad."

As of Tuesday afternoon, Santorum was still scheduled to speak at an event this evening with Focus on the Family founder and chairman emeritus Dr. James Dobson at Lancester Bible College. The topic: religious liberty.















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