Santorum Out: Paul Says 'Newt Who?'

Texas rep shifts to third in GOP race

Ron Paul's blimp floats on
Ron Paul's blimp floats on (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Cue a deep sigh of relief in the Mitt Romney camp: Rick Santorum today announced he is suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. So, of course, Congressman Ron Paul took the opportunity to remind everyone he still exists and hates Newt Gingrich

Santorum became the fundamentalist right's de facto champion after their brief flirtations with Rick Perry and Herman Cain, but got off the starting blocks too late to truly challenge ol' money bags Mitt. After getting blown out last week in Maryland and Wisconsin, and not even having the wherewithal to get on the DC ballot, his ability to slow Romney's roll was definitely in question.

But his exit shoves Gingrich into second place and sometime Libertarian Paul into third place. So Paul's campaign chairman Jesse Benton had this to say today:

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.

In other words, Gingrich can suck it, Paul's going straight after the nominee apparent.

True, even if every one of Santorum's 285 delegates switched to the Texan, his current count of 51 leaves him extremely poorly poised to catch up to Romney on 661. And what happens to those Santorum delegates? As the Washington Post notes, the man with the Google problem has merely suspended his campaign, not ended it, so he still keeps those pledges in hand.

Is this all wrapped up for Romney? Not if Paul has anything to say about it.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Election 2012, 2012 Primaries, Republicans, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul

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