By Andrew Beatty (AFP) – Jan 29, 2012
FORT MYERS, Florida — Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum appeared to concede defeat in Florida's primary on Sunday, announcing that he would begin campaigning in other states.
"The Rick Santorum for President Campaign will expand nationally this week with campaign stops in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nevada in the coming days," a spokesman MAtt Beynon said in a statement.
Santorum is slated to make several stops in battleground states over the next few days, but did not appear to be heading back to Florida, where Republicans go to the polls on Tuesday.
Santorum is expected be in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday when the Florida results are known.
After winning Iowa -- the first state to chose which Republican they want to face Obama in November -- Santorum's campaign has struggled to catch fire.
In Florida -- a winner-takes-all race -- the former senator has not appeared much and is barely avoiding a vote share in single digits according to polls, putting him in third place behing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
Nevada will vote just four days after Florida, while Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri all vote on February 7th.
Santorum had put campaigning in Florida on hold Sunday, as his daughter, Bella, was hospitalized just days before a key primary vote.
Two days before Florida's winner-takes-all primary, Santorum spent the day in Pennsylvania, where his three year-old was admitted to a Philadelphia children's hospital.
Bella Santorum was born with a genetic disorder called trisomy 18 -- or Edwards syndrome -- which results in severe disabilities and abnormalities.
"Due to the heath of his youngest daughter Bella, Rick Santorum will remain with his family today," campaign spokesperson Hogan Gidley said in a statement.
According to the US National Institutes of Health "many infants with trisomy 18 die within their first month. Five percent to 10 percent of children with this condition live past their first year."
The Santorum campaign was at pains say that this did not spell the end of his run for the White House, and participated in a "tele-town hall" meetings with Florida voters on Sunday.
"The campaign will resume the... Florida schedule using surrogates," it said.
With a tough path to get back into contention, speculation about the future of his campaign has been swirling.
Were Santorum to drop out Newt Gingrich would hope to draw some of Santorum's conservative supporters.
Gingrich is currently trailing to frontrunner Mitt Romney in the battle for key state -- which is likely to go a long way toward deciding who faces Obama in the general election.
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