Rick Santorum suspended his campaign for President today, all but sealing the nomination for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Dealing with the recent hospitalization of his young daughter, a double digit deficit in his home state of Pennsylvania and a dwindling war chest, it was finally time for the former Senator to stand aside.
He can walk away with his head held high. Let me explain.
Santorum greatly exceeded expectations. There isn’t an honest analyst (including myself) that was taking this guy seriously six months ago.
6 months ago this guy was out in Siberia (the far left podiums) during debates.
He was on the stump in front of dozens, not hundreds of voters.
At Presidency V here in Orlando, he had to crash an after party at the Tilted Kilt on I-Drive because, he didn’t have enough supporters for his own event.
He was polling like a dairy product at %2 last Halloween.
He stuck around.
You can call it a lack of enthusiasm in the field, poor vetting by party leadership, bad campaign management but, the others fair-weather frontrunners fell.
The Cain Train was derailed by allegations of infidelity. Bachmann bailed after a last place finish in Iowa. Rick Perry? Please! And Gingrich could not sustain his campaign through criticizing the media alone.
Santorum stayed the course and barnstormed through every county in Iowa. He couldn’t afford to drive the campaign bus the whole time so traveled by SUV. He shook as many hands as possible and went hunting with the natives.
He would win Iowa…eventually.
He became the real “Romney alternative”. There was plenty of passion for his social conservative views but, it scared away the moderates and he couldn’t win in those mid-western states that might have stopped Romney’s momentum.
That momentum started right here in Florida, where Romney also won by double digits.
He couldn’t risk losing his home state. It not only would have been a major loss in the delegate count column but, if you can’t win your state in your party’s primary, how are you going to take it in the General? It would have been an embarrassing defeat that would add insult to the injuries his campaign has suffered.
Santorum made the right call today. He’ll get the normal “atta boy” pats on the shoulder and a great speaking time slot at the convention but that won’t matter.
He earned the admiration of many who didn’t even know he existed when his campaign started. And when you were suppose to be a non-factor, that’s something to be proud of.
Santorum exceeded everyone's expectations during his run for the nomination.