After a string of recent primary defeats, and the hospitalization of his daughter with a rare genetic disorder, Rick Santorum will be announcing shortly that he is dropping out of the Presidential race.

Via the Washington Post:

Rick Santorum will announce Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but bringing to a close the 2012 GOP presidential contest and formally handing the nomination to Mitt Romney, according to an official close to the campaign.

Santorum is set to announce his withdrawal at a campaign event happening shortly in Gettysburg, Pa. — the site of the historic and pivotal Civil War battle.

The former Pennsylvania senator had been Romney’s top opponent, but he suffered a trio of defeats last week in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and over the weekend his daughter, Bella, was hospitalized for the second time this campaign due to complications from a rare genetic disorder.

Yahoo! is reporting that Santorum has called Mitt Romney to concede.

They also rehashed just how unlikely it was for Santorum to have come as far as he did:

The former Pennsylvania senator spent most of 2011 on a grueling and often lonely campaign tour through Iowa. His strenuous underdog campaign was organized by a skeleton staff and run the old fashioned way: By methodically speaking with voters face-to-face, town by town. Candidates like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain rose and fell throughout 2011, while Santorum spent the year mostly relegated to the far end of the debate stage. He was a long-dormant volcano due for a surprise eruption.

In the final days before the first Republican caucuses in Iowa–a contest on which Santorum rested his entire strategy–it appeared that his campaign would be laid to rest in the state where it was born. Iowa Republicans did not turn their eyes to the man who had spent more time in their state than any other candidate until the very end, but they ultimately awarded him with a surprise, hair’s-breadth victory–not formally confirmed until weeks after the vote–that helped keep his fledgling campaign afloat into the spring.

From there, he became the clear number two candidate, and the conservative answer to Mitt Romney, the GOP favorite. 

The Hill adds:

“While this presidential race is over for me, and we will suspend our campaign today, we are not done fighting,” he said from Gettysburg, Pa., flanked by his family.
The former senator thanked his supporters for what he called the campaign’s “improbable” success. 

The question now becomes, does Newt continue the fight and hope to garner the conservative votes that were going to Santorum, or does this signal the eventual Romney win that most expect?

Prayers for Mr. Santorum’s family, and especially his little girl, Bella.