Rick Santorum Suspending Republican Presidential Campaign, Dropping Out of Race

 Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rick Santorum is exiting the Republican Presidential primary.

A social conservative who represented Pennsylvania in the United States Senate until losing his re-election campaign in 2006, Santorum had risen to become the unlikely top right wing rival to front runner -- and now presumed standard-bearer -- Mitt Romney, who has been criticized by many in the GOP for being too moderate. 

Santorum's three-year old daughter Bella was hospitalized last week for a rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 18; upon her release from the hospital, Santorum said at his press conference in Gettysburg that it became a turning point for him.

"It did cause us to think about the role we have as parents in her life and the rest of the family, and this was a time for prayer and thought, just as it was when we decided to get into the race," he said.

Romney's delegate lead, as well as his strong standing in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, proved too high a hurdle for the low-spending Santorum campaign to overcome.

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