Just 159 days after announcing his presidential campaign in South Carolina, Rick Perry dropped out of the race in the very same state. He held a morning press conference Thursday at a Hyatt by the North Charleston Coliseum, a mere nine miles from where he launched his presidential bid in August.
“I’ve always believed the mission is greater than the man. As I’ve contemplated the future of this campaign, I’ve come to the conclusion there is no viable path forward for me,” Perry said in his eleven-minute concession speech.
Perry said, like Sam Houston, he knows “when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.” The governor will now return to Texas “neither discouraged or disenchanted,” where he said he would remain in the public arena. “I have just begun to fight,” Perry said.
Perry went on to endorse Newt Gingrich, calling him “a conservative visionary who can transform our country.” (Though the governor couched his endorsement with a thinly veiled dig at the former Speaker of the House’s personal life, saying, “Newt is not perfect, but who among us is. There is forgiveness for those who seek God.”)
Both Gingrich and Rick Santorum had been courting Perry’s endorsement, according to CNN’s Peter Hamby, who broke the news of the end of Perry’s presidential bid on Twitter.
“[A] source close to the governor told CNN that the campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum reached out to the Perry campaign Thursday morning seeking his endorsement. The source described it as an ‘aggressive effort’ to get the governor’s support,” Hamby wrote.