(CNN) - Governor Mitt Romney will drop his challenge for the four remaining delegates in Ohio, effectively giving them to Rick Santorum.
The delegates come from districts Santorum won but because he didn't have a full slate of names required to fill the spots, the Romney campaign originally contested they should be awarded to the former Massachusetts governor. This will bring Santorum to 25 delegates in Ohio, still below the 38 Romney won, CNN estimates.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Follow Adam Levy on Twitter: @adamplevycnn
"In the interest of party unity, we have decided to withdraw our challenge regarding the remaining Ohio delegates," said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. "It's time for Republicans to unite for the general election and devote their sole focus to defeating Barack Obama and reversing the damage caused by his failed economic policies."
The end of what could have been a lengthy challenge comes ahead of a meeting between Romney and Santorum today, intended to mend the relationship after a tough primary.
Romney's withdrawal almost certainly guarantees Santorum will be awarded the delegates. The Ohio Republican party's new state chairman, Bob Bennett, appointed a committee on contests to hear the complaints, which is scheduled to meet on Monday.
"This commendable decision by Governor Romney's campaign indicates that their organization is focused on unity and the important challenges which lay ahead," said Bennett. "Governor Romney and Senator Santorum each ran spirited primary campaigns in Ohio. Our full delegation to the national convention honors their commitment to this important process and will stand united in firm support of Governor Romney's bold vision for America's future."
Either campaign could have appealed the contest committee's decision to the Republican National Committee, which would have the final say to rule in favor of one candidate or possibly strip Ohio of the four delegates, changing their slate from 66 to 62.
Earlier this week, the Romney campaign hired Scott Jennings as their new state director, who was eager to end the challenge. Shortly after his appointment, he contacted Bennett to help come to this agreement. The campaign submitted the official motion to withdraw last night.
Romney won Ohio but beat Santorum by a little more than 10,000 votes. Ohio is a crucial swing state that carries 18 electoral votes in the fall. No Republican has won the White House without winning the state.