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Rick Santorum exits presidential race

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rick Santorum announced on Tuesday he would no longer pursue the Republican nomination for the White House, ending the campaign of one of the most anti-gay candidates seeking the presidency.

During a speech in Gettysburg, Pa., the former U.S. senator announced he decided to suspend his campaign after taking a break to care for his three-year-old daughter who was hospitalized over the weekend.

via IowaPolitics.com

Rick Santorum

“We made a decision to get into this race at our kitchen table against all the odds, and we made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race, for us, is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said.

The departing candidate took no questions after he gave his exit speech, nor did he endorse another candidate.

Santorum, who represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2006, won 11 states and earned 285 delegates, the second highest of all the presidential candidates behind Mitt Romney.

The candidate’s exit comes before the primary took place in his home state of Pennsylvania on April 24. Polls showed Santorum was narrowly ahead in the race. According to a Rasmussen poll published on Thursday, 42 percent of likely voters are supporting Santorum, while 38 percent of likely voters support Romney.

Many observers had already declared the primary season over. Romney appeared to be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination after winning three primaries in Wisconsin, D.C. and Maryland. Romney had also amassed 661 delegates, which is more than the other Republican candidates combined.

Dan Pinello, who’s gay and a government professor at City University of New York, said he doesn’t think Santorum’s departure “seriously affects the race” and the candidate exited because his money dried up.

“Romney was spending $2 million in the Pennsylvania primary alone, and Santorum had nothing to fight back with,” Pinello said. “Plus, all the endorsements of party insiders were going to Romney. Better to bow out than be humiliated in your own home state.”

In the past couple weeks, Romney secured endorsements from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — both seen as rising stars within the Republican Party.

Santorum had taken many anti-gay positions over the course of his campaign and backed a Federal Marriage Amendment barring same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Last year, Santorum was among the GOP hopefuls who signed a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage committing himself to backing a Federal Marriage Amendment, defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and establishing a commission on “religious liberty” to investigate the alleged harassment of same-sex marriage opponents.

Santorum also said he would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if elected to the White House, pledging in a public forum to the anti-gay Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in March to reverse repeal of the military’s gay ban.

“I don’t believe [open service is] in the best interest of our men and women in uniform,” Santorum said. “That doesn’t mean that people who are gay and lesbian can’t serve, it’s just that they can serve in the context of what, I think, everybody in the military does — keep their own private matters to themselves and serve this country accordingly.”

When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in effect from 1994 to 2011, an estimated 14,346 service members were expelled from the military. Many of those troops were expelled even though they made no declaration about their sexual orientation.

FRC’s Perkins praised Santorum upon his exit from the race, saying he carried a “message of faith, family and freedom” over the course of the campaign.

“Millions of voters flocked to Rick not because he was a Republican, but because he passionately articulated the connection between America’s financial greatness and its moral and cultural wholeness,” Perkins said. “He realizes that real problem-solving starts with an understanding that the economy and the family are indivisible.”

Perkins and other evangelicals were among the nearly 170 anti-gay leaders who rallied behind Santorum in January at a conference in Brenham, Texas, to discuss the GOP primary race and top policy goals for a Republican administration.

Santorum became notorious for vocalizing his opposition to same-sex marriage throughout his campaign.

On the day Washington State legalized same-sex marriage on Feb. 13, Santorum traveled to the state and derided the news in a speech, urging opponents of the law to bring the law to a referendum before voters in November.

“There are ebbs and flows in every battle, and this is not the final word,” Santorum said before supporters in Olympia, Wash.

In the past year of campaigning, Santorum went as far as saying “our country will fail” as a result of same-sex marriage and raised eyebrows in August when he said same-sex marriage is like “saying this glass of water is a glass of beer.”

In January, Santorum drew fire for vocalizing his opposition to same-sex marriage when campaigning in the libertarian state of New Hampshire, which has legalized same-sex marriage.

“Marriage is a privilege,” Santorum said. “It is not a right. It is privilege given by society, held up by society, for purposes that it provides some societal good, and I would make the argument, some extraordinary societal good.”

Prior to his final campaign appearance in New Hampshire on Jan. 10, protesters from the Occupy movement jeered Santorum, chanting “Bi-got! Bi-got! Bi-got!”

After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 ruled against California’s Proposition 8, Santorum railed against the decision.

“The Ninth Circuit decision yesterday said that marriage, if you believe in traditional marriage, between a man and a woman and exclusively that, you are in fact, the only reason you could possibly believe that, is because you are a bigot,” Santorum said. ”Your belief of marriage between a man and a woman is purely irrational based on hatred and bigotry.”

It’s this kind of anti-gay rhetoric that made LGBT advocates happy to see Santorum exit the race.

Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, said the anti-gay positions that Santorum staked out during his campaign made him “a stain on the Republican Party,” but predicted the candidate wouldn’t vanish from public view now that he’s departed the race.

“It was always clear that Santorum was not going to be the GOP nominee, but unfortunately we haven’t seen the last of him,” Davis said. “His brand of ultra-conservatism and rank piety appealed to a particular slice of the Republican electorate.”

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, had a more positive spin on Santorum’s departure, saying the end of his anti-gay rhetoric would enable the GOP to appeal to a broader constituency as Election Day draws closer.

“The departure of Rick Santorum’s divisive social politics from the race puts moderate, independent and younger conservative voters in play,” Cooper said. “The time is now for the Republican Party to capitalize by presenting an inclusive, united front focused on economic growth, exploration of natural resources and defending national interests abroad.”

Advocates said Santorum’s exit reinforces the notion that LGBT people should be prepared for Romney to become the Republican presidential nominee — whether they support his candidacy or not.

Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, said Romney had already sealed the nomination even before Santorum dropped out of the race. LaSalvia has personally endorsed Romney’s candidacy.

“Rick Santorum has recognized the political reality that most in the party have acknowledged for weeks now – Mitt Romney will be the nominee of the Republican Party,” LaSalvia said.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said Santorum’s exit means the LGBT community needs only to focus on Romney’s anti-gay positions.

“We now go from two leading candidates that would take LGBT rights completely backward in this country to one candidate who’d do the same,” Cole-Schwartz said. “While we might not be faced with Sen. Santorum’s extreme rhetoric anymore, we’re left with Gov. Romney whose anti-LGBT positions aren’t substantively much different.”

Romney has signed the same anti-gay pledge from NOM and has criticized Obama for dropping the government’s defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Still, the GOP frontrunner has said he doesn’t think the political wherewithal will be present in Congress to pass a Federal Marriage Amendment, and he has no plans to return to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Santorum’s departure means that only two Republican candidates other than Romney remain in the race: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But Paul hasn’t won any states in the primaries, and Gingrich’s campaign has all but run out of gas.

Obama appears to be leading Romney as the primary season comes to an end. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll published Tuesday, registered voters favored Obama by 51 percent, while 44 percent were behind Romney.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its original posting.

© Washington Blade. Reprinted by permission.

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81 more reader comments:

  1. Thank. Fucking. God.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:33pm
  2. Anyone else not saddened by this?

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:33pm
  3. HUZZAH!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:33pm
  4. GO HOME AND NEVER COME OUT AGAIN!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:34pm
  5. good, “president ass foam” doesn’t sound very dignified.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:34pm
  6. 1 down 2 to go

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:34pm
  7. Lol that’s quite funny. Happy he dropped out ._.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:34pm
  8. What a terrible frothy shame LOL.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:34pm
  9. Prayers for his Daughter

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:35pm
  10. Thank fuck. I’m not even American and I’m glad to see him go.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:36pm
  11. I thought god told him to run? Must’ve been playing a prank, eh?

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:36pm
  12. …STILL cannot get my head around how in the hell he ever got that far.
    ….For that matter, how he got elected into ANY office, ever.

    Well, good riddance to The Frothmeister!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:36pm
  13. One homophobe down. Progress is being made. SHOUT FOR JOY!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:36pm
  14. Thanks Bella for taking one for the team.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:37pm
  15. And now we’re stuck with Mittens Romney!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:38pm
  16. Very Good News!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:39pm
  17. Wonderful! He is an anti women homophobic ass!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:39pm
  18. Thank God

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:39pm
  19. I’m sad I only have one Like.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:40pm
  20. Bye bye douche-canoe

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:40pm
  21. You know, what is awful about this is that every last one of you are just as terrible as he is. Had he dropped out because of embarrasment or lack of funds or, hell, any other reason, I would be jumping for joy and all but throwing a party. But the fact that you people are this excited over a sick child shows the level of humanity we are dealing with. How absolutely disgusting.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:41pm
  22. go back east where r belong n.j.would be nice

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:41pm
  23. Danielle: The main reason was because he couldn’t beat Romney. Very little of it had to do with his daughter being in the hospital.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:42pm
  24. THANK GOD THE GAY BASHER IS OUT OF THE RACE

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:43pm
  25. He is a total bottom

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:43pm
  26. President Ass Foam!!

    (@ Shannon Moore….that’s F’ing hysterical!)

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:43pm
  27. WHAT?! D: is this for real?! >_>

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:44pm
  28. Okay so, I’m glad he’s dropped out because he should have dropped out a while ago. It’s sad to hear about his daughter though. No one deserves that, regardless of their political views.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:44pm
  29. Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:44pm
  30. @Danielle: Nobody is celebrating the fact that his child is sick. We are happy that someone as vile as him cannot run anymore and be elected president. Do you not see the difference? You don’t have to enjoy the reason why someone did something to enjoy the end result.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:45pm
  31. Yippee

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:45pm
  32. And comes out of the closet!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:46pm
  33. he is using that child as an excuse for droppin..he left bcus he damn well knows some big bear or biker dyke would have run his ass the fuck over if he won

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:47pm
  34. Not surprised… His closet fantasies would only take him so far.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:47pm
  35. Im glad hes out, so glad. Shame about his daughter though…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:48pm
  36. In a way I am happy for his dropping out p0rn & gay rights is saved but prayers for his daughter

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:49pm
  37. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:49pm
  38. Go Ron Paul…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:50pm
  39. @ Danielle:
    I think I speak for ALL of us when I say that NOT ONE OF US IS HAPPY ABOUT HIS CHILD’S ILLNESS.

    With all due respect, his child’s illness has NOTHING to do with him dropping out. He was losing and out of money.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:50pm
  40. Romney’s not any better though.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 12:53pm
  41. Buh-Bye Santroum. You won’t be missed.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:01pm
  42. Like he even had a chance.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:06pm
  43. stay tuned…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:07pm
  44. good news!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:08pm
  45. Well Danielle…sorry his daughter is sick but I’m positive she is receiving the BEST care money can buy. Meanwhile, he and his GOP pigs plan on sticking it to the average American and denying them something as basic as healthcare. So, NO I DON’T FELL SORRY FOR HIM. I feel sorry for the family with the sick baby who’s family depends on government assistance or Obamacare to care for their sick child that they love just as much as he does. Frothy ass doesn’t care about them. He didn’t drop out because of his daughter, it’s because he would never win.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:09pm
  46. WOOT WOOT!!! BEST NEWS ALL WEEK!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:09pm
  47. bye bye frothy! Bye bye.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:10pm
  48. Dammit… I need to get on Amazon and get the nail polish asap!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:15pm
  49. Nice! Now I don’t have to fear our prisons being turned into homosexual internment fortresses!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:18pm
  50. he was NOT in race for POTUS he was in race for POPE

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:23pm
  51. THANK YOU GOD! *bows down repeatedly*

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:27pm
  52. A comment I read on Twitter: “Given his stance on women’s rights, he shouldn’t be allowed to abort his campaign. He should be made to carry it to full term.”

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:32pm
  53. There was no way that he would have won the nomination let alone the presidency without seriously compromising his views and philosophy. He was a novelty candidate at best and considered to be by many an apostate of current American value trends (to say the least). He is and continues to be a strange man.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:33pm
  54. I am SO RELIEVED.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:37pm
  55. now he needs to come out of the closet.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:39pm
  56. I wonder if he finally actually heard from Jesus asking him to stop saying all that crap in his name.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 1:44pm
  57. Ding dong the bitch is dead…oh, wait. Lol

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:11pm
  58. Awe….guess he can crawl back under his rock!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:17pm
  59. i ally hate this guy

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:20pm
  60. woot woot! this bigot is out of the race – YAY!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:43pm
  61. thank God, I hope I never have to see that ridiculous, overgrown bully ever again. May he fade away…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:47pm
  62. How can a Christian and a god fearing (I use this with a smile ) man not read a map and lok around to see he is living in a nation where black and brown and Hispanic and south Asian and European and ..,,need I continue also live?
    What a blow …not!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 2:48pm
  63. Facebook page for new book:
    OCCUPY MEDIA! PROPAGANDA AND THE FREE PRESS

    http://www.facebook.com/OccupyMediaBreakingUpThePropagandaMachine

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 3:01pm
  64. Glad he’s gone, but like everyone else said, I hope his daughter is ok. No one should have to go through that, not even him.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 3:03pm
  65. Thank his sick kid for this one….

    Hopefully he won’t be back…

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 3:12pm
  66. now watch the etchasketch go to work.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 3:17pm
  67. I heard he wants to spend more time with his boyfriend, sorry I meant to say family

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 3:24pm
  68. THANK GOD HE IS OUT

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 3:32pm
  69. don’t let the door slap you on the ass on the way out.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 4:12pm
  70. WOOOOOOO

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 5:28pm
  71. May God Bless his daughter for she is one of God’s children. On another note things happen for a reason and I am personally glad he’s no longer in the race!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 5:43pm
  72. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!! God is on our side!!!!!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 6:15pm
  73. Everytime I see this I cheer right up! =)

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 6:45pm
  74. tatah asshole

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 6:59pm
  75. Apparently, it is the Will of God that anti-gay candidates should not run for President. Whether he repents for his sins or not, due to his extremist positions, now and forever his name will be associated on Google with the residue of a gay sex act. He earned it.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 7:13pm
  76. Buh-Bye!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 8:30pm
  77. thank god!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 11:31pm
  78. About bloody time, and good riddance.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 3:45am
  79. Next race…to unseat Jesus…He’s just not close enough to God.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 3:49am
  80. Yay!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 9:49am
  81. GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 12:05pm