Former Pennsylvania Republican senator, Rick Santorum announced April 10, 2012 that he was suspending his campaign, approximately two weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, ending his race for the Republican nomination.
The news came as a shocker to the other contenders in the field, with Newt Gingrich saying he was shocked, but would continue his campaign for the next Republican president of the United States.
With Santorum stepping aside, many believe this opens up the path for former Massachusetts Governor, Rick Santorum to receive the Republican nomination. He currently leads the pack with delegates, which ultimately decides who will receive the Republican nomination.
In a speech, Santorum said, “this race is over for me.” He said he made the decision over the Easter holiday weekend, following a short hospitalization of his youngest daughter Bella, 3, who suffers from a rare chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18, which causes severe medical and developmental problems.
Hogan Gidley, spokesman for the Santorum campaign said, “There was no way to have the proper amount of delegates to move on. It was time to look for other avenues to beat Barack Obama”
Santorum stated that he was suspending his campaign, which means he still gets to hold onto his delegates until he officially withdraws from the race. Santorum maintained that he would remain in the race, although the contest looked grim with Romney continuing to pick up delegates in the primary races.
Further the Santorum campaign stated in mid March that Santorum was still a real contender because Romney was “far below” the 50% delegates needed to pick up the nomination. However, a senior Santorum source said that Bella’s hospitalization was a major factor for his suspension of his campaign.
With Santorum out as Romney’s major contender, Romney’s campaign will now focus its attention on attacking the president directly. The day after Santorum announced he was dropping out, the Romney camp immediately began sending out attacks on the Obama campaign. Obama will now have to fight against a well-funded conservative super PAC, American Crossroads.
The super PAC, founded by former Bush political adviser Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie in 2009, has demonstrated ability to raise huge amounts of money. The PAC has already began running ads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.
American Crossroads can raise unlimited sums of money from individual donors and by the end of February, the group had already raised $23.6 million dollars, more than eight times the $2.8 million that Priorities USA Action — the super PAC run by former White House aides — had reported at that time.