Rick Santorum to quit 2016 Republican race.

Rick Santorum to Call It Quits

Rick Santorum to Call It Quits

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Feb. 3 2016 2:59 PM

Reports: Rick Santorum to Call It Quits

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Rick Santorum speaks to reporters in the spin room after the first part of the Republican presidential debate on Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is ending his presidential bid, two Republican sources told CNN. He is expected to make the announcement Wednesday night and will endorse a candidate.
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The Washington Post, which confirmed CNN's scoop, adds that Santorum plans to make his exit official during an appearance on Fox News, where he's also expected to make his endorsement. It’s unclear to whom Santorum plans to throw his support, but given he’s currently polling at less than half of one percent in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and nationally, it’s hard to imagine it will do much good.

Santorum’s the third GOP candidate to drop out since Monday’s Iowa Caucus, joining fellow former caucus-winner Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul. The departures suggest the great winnowing has begun—although the current dynamics of the Republican race will likely remain unchanged until the so-called establishment lane begins to empty, which won’t happen until sometime after next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

With Santorum’s exit, there are now nine Republicans left standing: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and—sure, why not—Jim Gilmore. The next GOP debate is scheduled for this Saturday in New Hampshire. ABC News has (mercifully) done away with the undercard debate, meaning it’s prime time or bust for the remaining candidates. The network plans to send out invites to the Top 3 finishers in Iowa, as well as any candidate polling in the Top 6 either nationally or in the Granite State. That means Fiorina and Gilmore are likely to miss out.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.