Rick Santorum Ends Presidential Bid, Endorses Marco Rubio

PHOTO: Former Senator Rick Santorum speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, May 21, 2015.PlayAlonzo Adams/AP Photo
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Rick Santorum has announced tonight that he is suspending his campaign for president and endorsing Marco Rubio.

"We are suspending our campaign," he said on Fox News on Wednesday night.

"We decided that we want to find a candidate that really espoused the values that he we believed in," he said, adding that he wanted someone who cared about the middle class and family values. "That's why we decided to support Marco Rubio."

The failed two-time presidential candidate’s announcement comes after he finished in 11th place with 1 percent of the vote in Monday’s Iowa caucuses.

It was a far cry from 2012 when he delivered a surprise upset in the Iowa caucuses, defeating the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney. Hoping for a repeat of that come-from-behind win in the Hawkeye State, this year Santorum visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties.

"He's a tremendously gifted young man," he said of the Florida senator. "I just feel a lot of confidence that he is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together."

Rubio reacted late Wednesday after a townhall in Dover, New Hampshire. .

“It means a lot, I have tremendous respect for Rick,” said Rubio.

The Rubio campaign says the endorsement came as a surprise.

“He’s got a great agenda for blue-collar Americans,” Rubio went on. “We need to grow our party among Americans that work hard with their hands every day and move their families forward and Rick I think has that message for them that’s phenomenal.”

Asked whether this was an indication the Republican establishment might be starting to rally behind him, Rubio said Santorum was “not really an establishment guy.”

“He’s always had to fight,” said Rubio. “Even when he ran for president the first time he was not the choice of the establishment, or the second choice, for that matter. He’s had to earn everything he’s ever done.”

Earlier in the day, Rubio also won over the support of Pat Toomey. On Tuesday, Tim Scott endorsed him. The campaign is billing the string of endorsements as "Marcomentum".

Ever since Santorum announced his run for president on May 27, 2015, Santorum’s campaign failed to gather momentum, polling at single digits nationally -- and even in Iowa where he spent most of his time.

He also did not make any of the seven Republican main-stage debates, relegated instead to the undercard debates.

Instead of knocking frontrunner Donald Trump like other GOP contenders, Santorum decided to aim more of his fire on Ted Cruz. In his first campaign ad, Santorum hit the Texas senator: “You want someone to read one helluva bedtime story, Ted Cruz is your guy. If you want to protect America and defeat ISIS, Rick Santorum's your president.”