It's time for Gingrich to drop out of race for GOP nomination

The time has come for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to drop out the Republican presidential race and allow Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to battle it out for the GOP nomination. After an up-and-down campaign, Gingrich based his chances primarily on a Southern strategy. That worked, with wins in South Carolina and Georgia. Then Gingrich set his sights on Alabama and Mississippi, where voters make their decisions on Tuesday. Gingrich had been first or second in those two states in pre-election polls. He earlier vowed he needed wins in the two states to have a chance, although he backed off on that claim during the weekend. When the votes were counted Tuesday night, Santorum -- who was ranked third in the polls in both states -- won both Mississippi and Alabama. Gingrich was second. Romney was third.
Despite dissatisfaction among conservatives, Romney remains the front-runner in the race. He's far ahead in delegates, but Santorum has emerged as the conservative front-runner. We said weeks ago that the conservative candidates needed to unite with one moving forward to take on Romney. Today, it's clear that conservative candidate is Santorum. He has developed significant momentum, which is something Gingrich has been unable to do. If Gingrich, Santorum and other conservatives in the race earlier had not split the conservative vote, Romney might not have the lead he enjoys today. But the bottom line -- in our mind -- moving forward is for Gingrich to fold and let Santorum carry the banner of conservatives against Romney from now into the convention.

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