Santorum Drops Out of 2016 Race, Endorses Rubio

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Former Senator Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Marco Rubio on Wednesday evening. In particular, Santorum cited Rubio’s strong support for family values.

Santorum emphasized Rubio’s position of “understanding the central role of the family in supporting that opportunity; that family breakdown is one of the key reasons that the middle [class] is hollowing out. It’s not just the lack of opportunities and talk about manufacturing and that important thing.”

Speculation abounded earlier in the day when Santorum announced he was dropping out, but he waited until an evening appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” to declare who he was endorsing.

Several commentators, including The Resurgent‘s Erick Erickson, predicted Santorum would endorse Donald Trump in light of Santorum’s appearance at Trump’s veteran’s rally during the last Republican debate.

Trump was also set to appear on Greta’s show last night and was seen by some as an embodiment of the same populism Santorum has tapped into during his presidential runs.

Along these lines, Rubio responded to Santorum’s endorsement by praising Santorum’s “great agenda for blue collar Americans.”

Rubio has emphasized policies that would benefit working families such his tax proposal with Senator Mike Lee to expand the child tax credit. That proposal has been embraced by pro-family conservative tax reformers such as Ramesh Ponnuru who argue that children are a civic investment. But it has been criticized by other conservatives emphasizing purely supply-side tax approaches.

After Santorum’s endorsement, some pro-family leaders suggested Rubio was a much better fit for Santorum than was Trump, due to Santorum’s deep commitment to pro-life and family values. Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America tweeted:

Santorum also cited Rubio’s commitment to the war on ISIS as a significant reason for his endorsement.

On Wednesday Rubio also secured the endorsement of another Pennsylvania conservative, Senator Pat Toomey. FiveThirtyEight declared yesterday that Rubio “is now winning the race for endorsements.”

Matt Bowman is an attorney who practices pro-life and constitutional law in Washington, D.C.