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Rick Santorum Ends 2016 Run, Endorses Marco Rubio

The former Pennsylvania senator is ending his second presidential bid after a disappointing outcome in the Iowa caucuses on Monday.
Image: Presidential Candidates, Leading Republicans Address Values Voter Summit
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S .Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) addresses the Values Voter Summit, hosted by Family Research Council Action (FRC Action), 2011 October 7, 2011 in Washington, DC. All the major Republican presidential candidates are expected to speak in the annual two-day event. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Alex Wong / Getty Images

Rick Santorum on Wednesday announced he is suspending his presidential campaign and endorsing Marco Rubio.

"He is the new generation and someone that can bring this country together — not just moderates and conservatives but young and old," Santorum said of the Florida senator during an appearance on the Fox News program "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren."

Santorum called Rubio a "born leader" best able to help the struggling middle class, support families and combat the terror group ISIS. Rubio had a strong third-place finish in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who came in first.

Asked about the new endorsement, Rubio said, "It means a lot."

"I have tremendous respect for Rick," he added. "He’s got a great agenda for blue-collar Americans — we need to grow our party among Americans that work hard with their hands everyday to make a living and move their families forward."

The decision to suspend the campaign makes Santorum the third Republican to bow out since Iowa. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also left the race this week.

Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses four years ago, finished near the bottom of the crowded GOP field on Monday, earning the support of just one percent of Republican caucus goers.

It was an insurmountable blow in the state that helped launch his surprise challenge to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

Related: From Perot to Pataki: The Art of Dropping Out

Despite his success in 2012, the former Pennsylvania senator failed to gain traction in the polls and was relegated to the undercard debates his entire campaign. The evangelical voters who previously fueled his Iowa victory split their votes between candidates like winner Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, real estate mogul Donald Trump, former pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Rubio.

Santorum also struggled to raise funds. His latest campaign financial report showed him with less than $50,000 cash on hand.

Phil Helsel contributed.