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Santorum suspends GOP presidential campaign

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Albany/HV: Santorum suspends GOP presidential campaign
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Rick Santorum announces the end of his campaign for president, but says the fight isn't over yet. YNN's Grace Rauh has more on Santorum's announcement.

UNITED STATES -- Rick Santorum is getting out, pulling the plug on his improbably strong bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

“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 announcement means Mitt Romney is poised to easily secure the Republican nomination. It arguably marks the start of the General Election.

Santorum's campaign surprised the political establishment and appeared to shake the Romney campaign. The former Pennsylvania senator appealed to social conservatives who did not trust Romney to champion their positions. In the end, Santorum came in second in the delegate tally.

Santorum said, “Over and over again, we were told 'forget it, you can't win,' we were winning. We were winning in a very different way, because we were touching hearts.”

Santorum did not endorse Romney or mention him in his speech.

Santorum says he came to his decision after his three-year-old daughter, Bella w as hospitalized over the weekend.

“This was a time for prayer and thought,” Santorum said.

The timing may also have had something to do with the upcoming Pennsylvania primary. Dropping out now means Santorum avoids the possibility of an embarrassing defeat on his home turf.

But Santorum did not want to dwell on the hurdles that would have awaited him should he have stayed in the race. Instead, he spent much of his speech reminiscing about the campaign. He even acknowledged the frenzy over his penchant for sweater vests.

“An amazing thing that sweater vest,” commented Santorum.

Badly trailing in third place, Newt Gingrich quickly made a play for Santorum's supporters. Gingrich says he is committed to staying in the race all the way to the Republican National Convention in August.

Despite his announcement, Santorum's name will still appear on the April 24th primary ballot in New York. But if Santorum's campaign officially tells the Board of Elections he is withdrawing from the race, any votes he receives will be voided.

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