Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race Thursday and endorsed Newt Gingrich, a move that comes just two days before the South Carolina Republican primary.
The Texas governor, saying he will return to his state "with pride," announced in South Carolina that "there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign."
After surging to the front of the GOP field upon entering the race last summer, Perry struggled to sustain that support and endured disappointing finishes in the leadoff Iowa and New Hampshire contests. He said Thursday he entered the race with a "sense of calling," but realizes "when it's time to make a strategic retreat."
"I've always believed the mission is greater than the man," Perry said.
The Texas governor offered a brief but robust endorsement of former House speaker Gingrich on his way out of the race, calling him a "conservative visionary." While Perry is polling only in single digits in South Carolina, his endorsement could make a difference in the tightening contest if his supporters gravitate toward a particular candidate.
"Newt is not perfect, but who among us is? The fact is there is forgiveness for those who seek God. And I believe in the power of redemption," Perry said. "I have no question that Newt Gingrich has the heart of a conservative reformer, the ability to rally and captivate the conservative movement."
Gingrich said in a statement he is "humbled and honored" to have Perry's support.
Perry was seen as competing for social conservative supporters alongside Rick Santorum and Gingrich, though the latter two candidates were faring much better in the polls.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL ARTICLE
While we were fans of gov. Perry, we appreciate the fact he knew he wasn't winning and decided to drop out and give endorsement to Newt Gingrich. Out of all the GOP candidates we favor Gingrich the most. But like we have stated before, we'll support the GOP nominee whoever it ends up being. TWAU BLOG