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Analysis, reaction to Rick Santorum ending, err, “suspending” his campaign

By on April 10, 2012

Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but bringing to a close the 2012 GOP presidential contest and formally handing the nomination to Mitt Romney, according to an official close to the campaign via the Washington Post.

My Tweet is kinda funny:

RT @SaintPetersblog: #Facebook to announce they have purchased @RickSantorum

The Atlantic offers 3 ways Rick Santorum hurt Mitt Romney’s presidential aspirations. One of them:

“The likely result of the race is just what many observers predicted a year ago: a Romney nomination. But it’s been a far more difficult battle than anticipated. After tying Santorum in Iowa — and later, it emerged, losing to him — Romney was forced to be much more aggressive toward him than anticipated. He spent millions of dollars and three months trying to hold off Santorum (and, to a lesser extent, Gingrich) that would have been more profitably spent attacking Obama. While Obama has built robust organizations in swing states like Ohio and New Hampshire, Romney has had to rely on “swat teams” that have helped him win a series of important primaries but have left behind little of the infrastructure he’ll need to compete with the president. And while Romney has recently begun attacking Obama, his coffers have been depleted attacking Santorum.”

Steve Benen:

“Stepping back and considering the larger context, it may be tempting to dismiss Santorum’s presidential campaign as something of a joke. It was underfunded and disorganized, led by an unfocused candidate pushing a cultural/social message that seemed badly out of step with voters’ priorities. Even when Santorum enjoyed the national lead for a brief time, there was always a lingering sense that his frontrunner status could not and would not last.”

Jonathan Bernstein argues that Santorum came in “fourth” in the GOP primary:

Santorum certainly finished second in delegates and votes. Nevertheless, I doubt that we can say he had the best shot at the nomination other than Romney. That honor, the real runner-up in this cycle, probably goes to Rick Perry, and perhaps even to Tim Pawlenty. Santorum, my guess is, pending further information, came in a solid fourth. Hey, it’s something!

Robert Costa:

“Santorum’s shoe-string campaign ultimately was one of many reasons for his springtime stumble. But today, as he bows out, it’s worth remembering that the Pennsylvanian was more than a “Romney alternative” this cycle. Sure, that was part of why he ascended, but it’s not the whole story. More than that, Santorum proved, again and again, that’s he’s a political survivor.”

First Read explains what ‘suspending’ a campaign means:

It’s a political distinction rather than a legal one, said Michael Toner, a prominent Republican election lawyer and former Federal Election Commission chairman.

“It gives you more flexibility politically” and “political cover to get back in the race,” if a candidate chooses to do so, Toner said. “It gives you more wiggle room.”

By not officially terminating a campaign, a candidate can continue to raise money to retire debt. A candidate would not be allowed to “terminate” their campaign — in the technical sense with the FEC — unless they paid off their obligations and debts.

Statement from Ron Paul:

“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.”

Joy Reid says Santorum dropping out frees “Romney from the yoke of social conservative, because there’s no lnger a major candidate in the race hitting on those themes. Romney can now talk non-stop about President Obama – a unifying theme for Republicans – and less about right wing primary memes like abortion and contraception.”

Nate Silver looks at Santorum’s future:

Mr. Santorum might have some appeal to Mr. Romney as a vice presidential candidate, since he’s reasonably well vetted and comes from a swing state, Pennsylvania. But Mr. Santorum now has poor favorability ratings with the general public, with an average of 33 percent of voters viewing him favorably and 45 percent unfavorably in surveys conducted since March.

Statement from Mitt Romney:

“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.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott takes trophy for worst-timed endorsement of the GOP primary, backing Mitt Romney just moments after the last serious challenger drops out.

“There is no question that Rick Santorum ran a hard fought campaign.  I commend his passion and his willingness to put the best interest of our party and nation first.

Mitt Romney will be our party’s nominee and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce behind Governor Romney and focus on electing him as President so he can put the policies in place to create jobs, turn our economy around and get federal spending under control.”

Here is the Time Magazine article by Joe Klein that Santorum referenced during his speech.

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