State GOP Presidential Fight Fades With Santorum Exit

Rick Santorum's departure from the Republican presidential race means less should be at stake for the GOP nomination during North Carolina's May 8 primary.

Mitt Romney is in the driver's seat for the party's presidential nomination after the former Pennsylvania senator suspended his campaign Tuesday. The decision leaves Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul as the remaining active challengers. Both have said they plan to stay in the race.

Gingrich visited North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday and plans to return Saturday for a Greensboro tea party event.

Davidson College professor Susan Roberts said it's possible Gingrich could do well in the state's primary but it probably wouldn't change the ultimate outcome. She's unsure Santorum's departure will affect turnout on the proposed constitutional amendment about marriage also on the May ballot.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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