Two more presidential candidates have suspended their campaigns in the aftermath of the Iowa caucus. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) both announced the end of presidential campaigns.
Senator Paul will now focus on his Senate re-election bid. Paul had previously been running for re-election while running for President, a move that was legally questionable in Kentucky, and Republican officials had been urging Paul to focus on his Senate seat. Paul recently gained a Democratic opponent in Lexington mayor Jim Gray, who is wealthy enough to partially self-fund a campaign. Gray is a top-tier for the candidates and he has criticized Paul for putting his national ambition over the people of Kentucky. Paul dropped out after finishing fifth in Iowa, a state his father, former Representative Ron Paul, did well in in his presidential runs.
Paul was initially seen as a more electable version of his father who would be able to bring the libertarian movement into the mainstream. However, those aims faded as the Republican Party turned to more hawkish policies to tackle the threat posed by ISIS. Concerns over NSA spying also moved to the back burner, an issue Paul would frequently raise.
Paul did not immediately endorse anyone and his now-former opponents wished him the best and offered to campaign for him in Kentucky.
Santorum, however, endorsed Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) immediately following his withdrawal. The news broke online and Santorum officially announced his withdrawal on Fox News’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. Santorum struggled to gain traction in the polls and was relegated to the undercard debate every time. Publicly, Santorum preached patience, sure that voters would return to the second place winner in the 2012 Republican nomination process. In Iowa, Santorum placed last among the major candidates, a striking reversal to four years ago when he edged former Governor Mitt Romney for the win. Rubio has said that Santorum will be on the stump for him when Santorum is up for it.