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Santorum drops out, wants focus on November

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum announced Tuesday he is suspending his campaign, effectively clearing the path for presumptive nominee Mitt Romney to focus on a general election matchup with President Obama.


Santorum announced at a press conference he was dropping out, and in a statement on his website implied that continuing the race would hurt Republicans' chances of defeating Obama.

He didn't mention Romney but said in his statement, "I do not see a path forward that does not risk our shared objective of defeating Barack Obama in November. ... I am planning to do everything in my power to bring a change about in the White House."

Santorum called Romney before his announcement, according to several media reports. Santorum's campaigning has been slowed in recent days as he tended to his 3-year-old daughter Bella, who has pneumonia.

Santorum won 11 states, but his lack of a nationwide organization -- and money -- kept him from being a true competitor to Romney, who has won 23 states or territories. For instance, the night Santorum won Alabama and Mississippi, Romney still won more delegates by carrying his own in those states and also winning Hawaii and American Samoa. On another night Santorum won the Missouri primary, but walked away with no delegates because the state party had chosen to award its delegates in a caucus to be held later.

Santorum grabbed the spotlight in the 2012 campaign by finishing in a virtual tie with Romney in the Iowa caucuses -- the first contest of the year -- and was declared the winner more than two weeks later. That delay, though, came after he had already lost in New Hampshire, preventing what could have been a big momentum boost.


Santorum was a darkhorse candidate from the beginning and rose to contender status on the strength of solid debate performances as conservatives looked for an alternative to Romney. Most of his victories were aided by strong support by self-described evangelicals/born again Christians.

"There has been no other Presidential comeback race like ours," Santorum said in his statement.

Romney released a statement after Santorum withdrew.

"Senator Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran," Romney said. "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."

Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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