Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Rick Scott refused to endorse any GOP candidate for president, but with Rick Santorum’s Tuesday announcement the he is suspending his campaign; Scott threw his full support behind Mitt Romney.
“There is no question that Rick Santorum ran a hard fought campaign,” Scott said in a statement from the Republican Party of Florida. “I commend his passion and his willingness to put the best interest of our party and nation first.”
“Mitt Romney will be our party’s nominee and it is critical that all Republicans coalesce behind Governor Romney and focus on electing him as president so he can put the policies in place to create jobs, turn our economy around and get federal spending under control,” Scott said.
Scott’s endorsement wasn’t actively sought by either Romney or Santorum, at least not publicly. Part of the reason behind that is Scott’s anemic poll numbers could hurt a candidate appearing on stage with Scott at a rally.
Santorum made his surprising move Tuesday afternoon. He’s already talked to Romney about leaving the race, and while he didn’t endorse Romney, he vowed to help fight to defeat Obama.
“We made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said.
Romney called Santorum “an able and worthy competitor” and congratulated the former Pennsylvania Senator on his campaign.
“He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation,” said Romney. “We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”
Santorum said Tuesday afternoon that Bella had recovered after a “difficult weekend,” but that the situation “did cause us to think in the role that we have as parents in her life.” He said that “this was a time for prayer and thought over this past weekend,” and that the decision to suspend the campaign had been made during that period.