As the former Pennsylvania senator will say himself, no one did more with less during the campaign than he did. The least funded, smallest staffed Santorum knocked on countless doors in Iowa to woo the caucus-goers with shoe leather. Once the others fell out of favor, it was the socially conservative Santorum that snatched a narrow (if delayed) win in the Hawkeye State and rode the wave through Super Tuesday and beyond, nipping at Romney's heels and picking up wins in key states throughout the spring. There's no doubt Santorum is seriously eyeing another presidential bid.
The former House speaker may have started down the path to the White House on a lark, to sell books or command an audience, but his commanding debate performances and sharp barbs at the president made him a standout candidate. Though he failed to win any states besides South Carolina and his native Georgia, Gingrich just wouldn't quit – outlasting even Santorum and perhaps his relevance. Gingrich will likely cool his heels for a bit before re-establishing his myriad of lobbying and fundraising organizations that languished during his run.
No candidate had more passionate supporters than Paul, whose legion of young and fervent faithful was legendary. Even though the 76-year-old has stepped back from 'actively campaigning' his supporters have still been turning out. In fact, they've been making runs in states that have already voted but still hadn't selected their delegates. Paul has eschewed the idea of a disrupted convention, but it remains to be seen if his followers will listen. Many saw the libertarian's final bid as a means of setting up his similar leaning son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, up for his own White House run. As for the elder Paul, he declined to run for re-election to the House and may just take a rest from politics for awhile.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.