Rick Santorum quits Republican presidential campaign

 

Bowing to the inevitable, Rick Santorum quit the presidential campaign today, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to claim the Republican nomination.

Mr Santorum, appearing with his wife and family in his home state of Pennsylvania, told supporters the race for him was over, but the fight to defeat president Barack Obama would go on.

Mr Santorum made no mention of Mr Romney, and stressed that he had gone further than anyone expected, competing "against all odds".

The delegate totals told the tale of Mr Santorum's demise. Mr Romney has more than twice as many delegates as Mr Santorum and is on pace to reach the number needed to clinch the nomination - 1,144 - by early June.

Still in the race, but not considered a factor are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul of Texas.

He made no mention or endorsement of Mr Romney, whom Mr Santorum had derided as an unworthy standard-bearer for the Republicans.

The former Pennsylvania senator said: "We are going to continue to go out there and fight to defeat president Barack Obama."

Mr Santorum spoke to Mr Romney ahead of his announcement, a Republican source close to the campaign said.

Mr Romney congratulated Mr Santorum on his campaign, calling him an "able and worthy competitor".

Mr Santorum had been hoping to hold out through the primary in Pennsylvania on April 24, but he decided to fold up after spending the weekend at home with his severely ill three-year-old daughter Bella.

Mr Santorum, a feisty campaigner who took everyone by surprise with his win in Iowa's lead-off caucuses, ran on his conservative credentials. But he was hobbled by a lack of money and organisation.

Mr Santorum stressed the improbable accomplishment of the past year, saying that "against all odds, we won 11 states, millions of voters, millions of votes".

He said that while Mr Romney was accumulating more delegates, "we were winning in a very different way. We were touching hearts" with his conservative message.

In a statement, Mr Romney said Mr Santorum "has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognise 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."

Mr Santorum was a favourite of the most conservative Republican voters, but Mr Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had accumulated a huge lead in delegates to the party's national convention in August.

Mr Romney's conservative credentials are suspect among the conservative Republican base, but Mr Santorum's inability to put together primary election victories in key states - especially in the industrial Midwest - appeared to have convinced most voters that Mr Romney's nomination was inevitable.

Mr Santorum was the only Republican in what started out as a crowded field who was able to create a sustained challenge to Mr Romney, who is making his second run for the nomination. The distaste that conservatives felt for Mr Romney showed itself in a series of runs at his front-runner status by Rep Michelle Bachmann, Texas Gov Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich.

Mr Gingrich today said he would stay in the race until the party's convention.

Mr Santorum was to have returned to the campaign trail Tuesday after his daughter was released from hospital. She suffers from a rare genetic condition and was taken to hospital on Friday as her father began a brief holiday break from campaigning. She was discharged from the hospital last night.

He said her latest spell in hospital led him and his family to decide against continuing in the race.

Five states, including Pennsylvania, hold primaries on April 24

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, stepped up his election-year insistence that the wealthy pay a greater share of taxes, renewing his call today for Congress to raise taxes on millionaires.

Hoping to draw a sharp contrast with Mr Romney, Mr Obama outlined his support for the so-called "Buffett rule" in Florida. Mr Obama says he wants to revamp the US tax law under which wealthy investors often pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class wage-earners.

The push for the Buffett rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who famously said it was wrong for him to be paying a lower tax rate than that levied on his secretary.

Mr Obama has proposed that people earning at least 1 million dollars (£630,000) annually, whether in salary or investments, should pay at least 30 per cent of their income in taxes. Many wealthy taxpayers earn investment income, which is taxed at 15 per cent, allowing them to pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes. The top rate for taxpayers with high incomes derived from wages is 35 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue
E L James's book Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

It's hard to understand why so many are buying it – but then best-selling was ever an inexact science, says DJ Taylor
Behind the scenes of the world's most experimental science labs

World's most experimental science labs

The photographer Daniel Stier has spent four years gaining access to some of the world's most curious scientific experiments
It's the stroke of champions - so why is the single-handed backhand on the way out?

Single-handed backhand: on the way out?

If today's young guns wish to elevate themselves to the heights of Sampras, Graf and Federer, it's time to fire up the most thrilling shot in tennis
HMS Saracen: Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled

HMS Saracen

Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'

7/7 bombings 10 years on

Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'