By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – It appears to be a done deal: Mitt Romney will face President Obama in November. Rick Santorum, Romney’s closest rival bowed out of the Republican race for the White House Tuesday.

Will the hard right close ranks around Mitt Romney?

Peter Laird, who’s on the Steering Committee of the Greater Boston Tea Party, says he is disappointed that Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, because he was hoping this battle would continue to the Republican Convention. He says he was hoping that then the party could choose someone more conservative than Mitt Romney.

But he says the Tea Party also understands reality, and Romney will get the Tea Party vote. Laird says, “The Tea Party will get behind him. They won’t be as enthusiastic as they would be behind someone like Rick Santorum or Marco Rubio, but they’ll get behind him because they don’t want Obama.”

Laird says they won’t get out and work as hard for Romney as a more conservative candidate, and instead will likely focus more of their efforts on candidates for the House and Senate.

But he says the driving force that will unite the Tea Party with the Republican nominee is they want anybody but Obama.

Now Romney can shift his attention to the general election. What about his running mate? Jon Keller says one thing is clear: It won’t be Santorum.

Keller says, “I see no reason why Romney would want to pick Rick Santorum it’s not a good fit personally, it doesn’t really add the key component that Romney needs which is to reach out to independents and more moderate voters who comprise the 10% of the swing vote in the fall that are going to decide this election. ”

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