The Corner

Vaya Con Dios, Rick Santorum

Various media organizations are reporting that tonight, Rick Santorum will suspend his presidential campaign and endorse another candidate.

Our Tim Alberta wrote that Santorum was “the next in line that never was,” the 2012 second-place primary finisher who couldn’t seem to catch fire anywhere in 2016. Passionate in his pro-life beliefs, personable in his interactions, pugnacious in his debating, Santorum charged into this cycle . . . only to learn that a hefty portion of that 2012 support was more of a vote against Mitt Romney than a vote for him. Like his fellow Iowa caucus winner, Mike Huckabee, Santorum saw old allies drifting towards and sometimes outright endorsing other options.

The Iowa results must have been a deep disappointment. Four years ago, he had more than 29,000 votes; this year he finished with 1 percent, 1,783 votes. Iowans seemed to rule out a Santorum rerun pretty early and clearly; in November of 2014, Santorum was at 11 percent in Iowa; that was the last time he was in double digits. He was relegated to the undercard debate every time.

The former Pennsylvania senator pitched different aspects of his persona — blue-collar roots, wary of legal immigration, defying the conventional wisdom and defending the Export-Import Bank, comparing Kim Davis to a Columbine victim killed for her faith . . . Santorum was always whiskey, strong stuff, not easy for everybody to gulp down. 

It’s somewhat fitting that the Rand Paul, probably the most libertarian candidate in the GOP field, and Santorum, arguably the least, depart the same day. These are two perspectives that deserve a seat at the GOP table . . . but not necessarily at the head of the table.

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