3 Reasons Rick Santorum Has Not Endorsed Mitt Romney

The GOP race for the presidential nomination has been over for more than a week, ever since Rick Santorum officially suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination. Considering the beatings that he and Mitt Romney gave each other over the last few months, it was really no surprise that Santorum failed to endorse the former Massachusetts governor in his final speech. The closest Santorum has come to supporting Romney was when he commented that he was ‘committed’ to defeating President Obama in November.

People that believe the lord of the sweater vest will refuse to endorse Romney out of principle are in for a rude awakening. It’s more likely that he’s holding out for a few simple reasons:

Debt. Santorum left the campaign with tons of debt. By the end of February, that debt had grown to almost one million dollars. Reports have varied, but many have assumed that it grew by leaps and bounds over the many contests held in March. Now he needs to pay it off, and doesn’t have the resources or organization Romney has to raise enough. 

Chances are Santorum will eventually be going to Romney at some point, hat in hand. (Cue the jokes about Santorum flip-flopping on bailouts.) In the end, Romney will probably do it, because having Santorum’s influential voice as an ally certainly won’t hurt. At some point over the next few weeks, the two men will meet, and afterwards Santorum, will most likely give a formal endorsement.

Longer Wait = Greater Reward. Santorum exited the race for strategic reasons. He was dropping in the polls faster than he was taking on debt. If he had lost his home state to Romney on April 24, he would have lost all credibility for a future run. Right now at age 53, Santorum is still young enough to have a viable future if he saved face. If he runs again in four or eight years, he will still be younger then than Romney is today.

The longer Santorum holds out, the more clout he may wind up with. The more time drags on, the more the Romney campaign and the rest of the GOP may want to just get on with it. Santorum could barter his endorsement for a platform at the convention, a cabinet position, or any other number of things.

Read Between The Lines. On April 18, a batch of late-arriving fundraising letters arrived in the mailboxes of Iowa voters. These letters contained scathing rhetoric towards Romney, signaling that if Santorum’s campaign was to continue, he would have double down on the ‘Massachusetts Moderate’ and ‘Worst Candidate Possible’ lingo. 

Santorum’s campaign commented that the letters were already paid for and sent out before he withdrew, although some people believe that this may be part of an effort to raise more money with which to pay off his debts. If he had endorsed Romney only to have those letters hit the press afterwards, it would have been a P.R. disaster. 

Santorum waged a commendable fight. His time-honored approach of retail politicking earned him a massive upset in Iowa and nearly a dozen additional victories. However, his Cinderella story was not meant to be. Romney has a tremendous lead, and even if former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congressman Ron Paul stay in the race till the convention, it’s nearly a mathematical impossibility that either of them could overtake Romney. 

Now that the primary has entered April, more contests will be decided on a winner-take-all basis. If Romney sweeps all five contests on April 24 as he is expected to do, it could increase his lead by over 200 more delegates.

Santorum wants something. That much is for sure. Even with his lead in Super PAC fundraising and rebounding positives, Romney is going to need every possible foot soldier to defeat a powerful incumbent like Obama. Whether he wants a prime-time speaking slot, a guaranteed repeal of ObamaCare signed in blood, or a cabinet posting, chances are he may just get it.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Santorum and Romney may have spent the last few months knocking each other in the next zip code, but both know that only a united GOP can beat President Obama. Santorum wants Obama defeated, but if he can guarantee a bit of success for himself in the future, that won’t hurt either.

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Jesse Merkel

Jesse currently works as a Content Engineer for HubShout, LLC. In the past, he wrote about the political scene in his hometown of Rochester, NY for Examiner.com. Prior to becoming a writer, Jesse worked as a professional guitarist and private music instructor for over seven and a half years, while also volunteering on several local and national political campaigns. These days, Jesse enjoys writing about music, movies and pop culture, and is a die hard Trekker.

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