Bloomberg News

Santorum Endorses Romney as Republican Nominee

May 08, 2012

Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, almost a month after he dropped out of the presidential race, endorsed Mitt Romney to be the Republican nominee against President Barack Obama.

“We both agree that President Obama must be defeated,” Santorum, 53, said in an e-mailed statement last night. “It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime.”

Santorum ended his presidential campaign on April 10. While he was still an active candidate, the former Pennsylvania senator had repeatedly called Romney, 65, “uniquely disqualified” to be the party’s standard-bearer in the November election.

He based the attack largely on Romney’s success as governor of Massachusetts in enacting a health-care program that in crucial respects was a model for the federal law Obama pushed through Congress in 2010. Both plans require individuals to purchase health-care insurance.

Santorum had drawn support from socially conservative Republicans who are skeptical of Romney’s stance on such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.

‘Spirited Race’

Romney today commended Santorum for having run “a spirited race,” saying in a statement that the former Pennsylvania senator’s “commitment to conservatism energized millions of Republicans.”

Romney said he and Santorum “share an absolute commitment to reversing the failing policies of the Obama administration.”

In his statement last night, Santorum said Romney “clearly understands that having pro-family initiatives are not only the morally and economically right thing to do, but that the family is the basic building block of our society.”

In exiting the race, Santorum -- the last remaining opponent with any chance of stalling Romney’s drive to the nomination -- delivered a 13-minute speech that made no mention of his rival. The two men then met privately before a campaign event on May 4 in Pittsburgh without revealing what was discussed.

Campaign Suspended

Santorum suspended his campaign two weeks before the Pennsylvania primary as it became clear he was at risk of losing his home state to Romney.

After belatedly being declared the winner of the lead-off Iowa caucuses, Santorum established himself as the main alternative to Romney when he swept contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri on Feb. 7. After that, he fell just short of Romney in crucial primaries in Michigan, the front-runner’s native state, and Ohio, a political bellwether.

Romney victories in the March 20 Illinois primary and Wisconsin’s April 3 contest intensified pressure from influential Republicans for Santorum -- his campaign facing mounting debts -- to step aside to promote party unity.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich ended his presidential bid on May 2, leaving Representative Ron Paul of Texas as Romney’s only remaining opponent for the Republican nomination.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Rubin in Washington at jimrubin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net


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