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How Rick Santorum wins by dropping out of presidential race

Rick Santorum effectively ended his campaign Tuesday, but he has gained much after doing better than pundits expected, setting himself up for a run in 2016 or 2020.

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Surrounded by his family, Rick Santorum announces in Gettysburg, Pa., he is suspending his candidacy for the presidency effective Tuesday.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

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The announcement Tuesday by Rick Santorum that he is suspending his presidential campaign comes as little surprise.

The former Pennsylvania senator was too far behind in the delegate count to lock in the nomination before the Republican convention in August, and the prospect of a contested convention had effectively vanished.

Mr. Santorum’s final hope – to win the Pennsylvania primary on April 24, giving his campaign new life – was also teetering on the edge. The latest polls showed likely nominee Mitt Romney within just a few percentage points of beating the native son, Santorum.

Now, Santorum comes out of the nomination race with a victory, of sorts. He entered the race nearly a year ago as a long-shot prospect, against many better-known personalities, and survived longer than just about anyone else in the race on a shoestring budget. Newt Gingrich effectively conceded on Sunday that Mr. Romney will be the nominee. Ron Paul, the other active candidate, is still promoting his iconoclastic brand of libertarian Republicanism, with no shot at the nomination, analysts say.

But after a weekend dominated by his disabled young daughter’s hospitalization and reports that Santorum was considering ending his bid, he emerged Tuesday ready to announce his next phase of public life.

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