Steffen Schmidt, IAFC Blogger
Steffen W. Schmidt, University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Iowa State University, WNYC blogger, and chief Political correspondent of Insider Iowa.
Rick Santorum has suspended his campaign. For most of us that means he’s out of the race and it’s all over except for Romney reaching the 1144 delegates needed for his official nomination at the August party convention.
But, Santorum is not talking like he’s actually ”dropping out” of the race. He’s not being gracious about Mitt Romney, saying that Romney does not represent the values of the voters who supported him, Rick Santorum.
Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council is holding the feet of the National GOP to the fire. He won't say that he’ll vote for Mitt Romney. Instead, he says he will push for “healthy families,” code language for opposition to gay rights and gay marriage.
Newt Gingrich is still pretending that he’s running for president even after losing all but a couple of primaries. He is out of money and has a huge outstanding debt. He’s despised by the Romney team for the snarky attacks and criticisms he’s launched against the former Massachusetts governor. He fired most of his campaign team.
Ron Paul is still slogging along accumulating a few delegates here and there, but it's unclear why he’s sticking in there. He claims it’s so he can advocate for the policies he has always expounded – a much leaner federal government, freedom, and a less imperial foreign policy.
The suspension of Santorum’s campaign has been correctly declared to be the start of the national election campaign pitting Mitt Romney against Barack Obama. But, there will be a strong sideshow inside the Republican Party as the various characters and factions especially Rick Santorum try to position themselves for the next seven months. And, let’s be clear, Santorum and Tony Perkins will try their best to continue yanking Romney to the right.