Rick Santorum drops out of 2016 GOP race, endorses Rubio

Santorum smiles during a campaign stop at shooting range in Boone, Iowa, on Saturday. (Photo: Chris Carlson/AP)

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is dropping out of the race for the White House, he confirmed via a statement in which he threw his support behind Marco Rubio.

“So thankful & grateful for your support. Just not our year. So today please join me in supporting @marcorubio,” he posted on Twitter on Wednesday evening.

After a dismal performance in the Iowa caucus — receiving only 1 percent of the vote, resulting in zero delegates — there had been speculation that Santorum might withdraw his candidacy for the Republican nod.  

His campaign struggled to find its footing within the overcrowded GOP field — especially with media-savvy real estate mogul Donald Trump and breakout contender Texas Sen. Ted Cruz vying for the top spot.

Rubio solidified his credentials among conservatives with a third-place finish in Iowa. He garnered 23 percent of the vote, just one percentage point behind Trump.

A Santorum aide had told the Washington Post earlier Wednesday that he was scheduled to make  “two major announcements” on Fox News. He is expected to discuss the end of his campaign and which of his rivals earned his endorsement.

Santorum was also a candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2012. He won Iowa with 24.6 percent of the vote but ultimately lost the party’s nomination to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Earlier Wednesday, libertarian-minded Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also announced that he was suspending his presidential bid. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee withdrew his candidacy Monday night.