Santorum: Won't drop out, in for the long haul

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum (left) greeting airport workers at the Chester County Airport.
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum (left) greeting airport workers at the Chester County Airport. (JOSEPH KACZMAREK / Associated Press)
Posted: January 28, 2012

Touching down Friday in Chester County, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said he was in the race for the long haul and had not considered dropping out.

"We haven't even had a discussion about a discussion" of ending his candidacy, Santorum said after arriving at a small airport in West Chester.

The former senator from Pennsylvania returned to the state after a period of intense campaigning in Florida, just days ahead of the primary there. He has an uphill battle to force his way into what has become a fight between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Santorum scored in the Iowa caucuses, but lost big in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Still, he said Friday that he would be in the race for "a long, long, long time."

"We feel good that as time goes on, we're going to look better," he said.

Santorum was slated to attend a fund-raiser Friday night in the Pennsylvania suburbs. He said he would later return home to Northern Virginia to do his taxes.

He faced an uphill battle even before the race turned to Florida. Santorum did not have the money to spend on television ads in Florida's expensive media markets. And he could not compete with the thousands-strong crowds his rivals have been drawing.

"Other candidates tell you they need your help," Santorum told Florida Republicans this week. "They're lying. I really need your help."

But help didn't come - at least in the Sunshine State - for a candidate who appeared exhausted and running on, at most, four hours of sleep a night.

So Santorum opted to go home to Pennsylvania, which he represented in the Senate, and Virginia, where he lives with his wife and seven children, to get some rest.

Aides said it would be the first time he had slept in his own bed since Christmas, when he set out on a campaign schedule that has had him working at a frenetic pace.

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