Rand Paul, Santorum end US presidential runs

2016-02-04 07:12
Rand Paul (Picture: AFP)

Rand Paul (Picture: AFP)

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Washington - Two more Republicans dropped out of the race for the White House on Wednesday, with Senator Rand Paul and Rick Santorum the latest to quit the fast-shrinking field for the party's presidential nod.

Both failed to ignite mass voter interest in Monday's Iowa caucuses, the first stop in the long nominating process, where Senator Ted Cruz emerged ahead of poll-blazer Donald Trump and Marco Rubio came in a strong third.

After suspending his campaign and with the once-bulging Republican field vying for the party's nomination now down to nine, Santorum threw his weight behind Rubio, whose star is on the rise.

Reversal of fortunes

It is a particularly sharp reversal in fortunes for Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania who snatched Iowa from Mitt Romney four years ago but has languished at the back of the pack for months.

While Santorum, who had made religious freedom and social conservatism the pillars of his campaign, won several more states in 2012, he could not sustain the momentum and ultimately lost the nomination to Romney.

This time in Iowa Santorum finished 11th out of 12 candidates with just one percent of the Republican vote.

After speculation mounted throughout the day, Santorum told Fox News he was officially suspending his tilt at the presidency and endorsing somebody whose values and policies he was in tune with, including over the threat to America from the Islamic State extremist group.

"We decide to support Marco Rubio," he said.

The pair spoke on Tuesday for more than an hour, Santorum said, adding: "I don't endorse lightly."

Rubio told Fox in response: "We look forward to teaming up and he is going to be, hopefully, very active in our campaign. We want to use him as much as he is willing to work for us, and we are excited about it."

Paul ran 'principled campaign'

The 53-year-old Paul, a libertarian who stresses individual rights and privacy and finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses, dropped out earlier in the day.

"It's been an incredible honour to run a principled campaign for the White House. Today, I will end where I began, ready and willing to fight for the cause of liberty," Paul said in a statement.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee dropped out just hours after the Iowa caucuses.

Their exit leaves the Republican field still crowded with White House hopefuls, including Carly Fiorina, who insisted she is still committed to the race despite finishing seventh in Iowa, with 1.9%.

"I'm doing this to be the president of the United States and we're going to go all the way to Cleveland" and the Republican nominating convention, she said on a phone call with donors.

Read more on:    us  |  us 2016 elections

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