by Alicia M. Cohn
January 19, 2012
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is dropping out of the presidential race and will endorse Newt Gingrich, according to a campaign source.
Perry, who trails GOP front-runner Mitt Romney badly and fared miserably in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, is telling supporters he will drop his bid for the nomination.
Perry has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m in North Charleston, S.C.
The Texas governor entered the race in August to much fanfare and immediately topped polls. But a series of disastrous debate performances, including one in which he failed to remember the three government agencies would shut down as president, left him behind the GOP pack.
An NBC-Marist poll released on Thursday showed Perry in fifth place among South Carolina voters, with 4 percent of the vote. Romney led with 34 percent — Perry also trailed Gingrich with 24 percent, Ron Paul with 16 percent and Rick Santorum with 14 percent.
Perry and Gingrich have worked together in the past, and Perry’s endorsement would help solidify Gingrich’s position as the conservative “anti-Romney” challenger. Gingrich has shown the momentum in South Carolina that Perry’s campaign failed to achieve, polling second behind Romney in polls on Wednesday.