Rick Perry says that he may drop out of the presidential race following a devastating fifth place finish in Iowa.
In an emotional speech to supporters on Tuesday night, Perry said that “with a little prayer and reflection, I am going to decide the best path forward.”
With 97% of precincts counting, Perry had only 10% of the vote, well behind the top tier of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul, who all cracked 20%. His results were made all the more difficult by the huge dollars his campaign and its allies had committed to the caucuses, blanketing the airwaves with millions of dollars of ads playing up Perry as a pious Washington outsider and whacking his opponents with some of the toughest negative spots of the campaign.
With Perry’s campaign likely finished, the book is closing on one of the most swift and complete collapses in primary history. For a brief moment, the nomination seemed Perry’s to lose as he entered the race in August leading national and state polls and generating huge excitement among movement conservatives as a credible, electable alternative to Mitt Romney. Instead, Romney effectively raised doubts about his general election viability and conservative credentials by hitting from the left on Social Security and right on immigration. Perry’s own disastrous debate performances, however, were the coup de grace.
His final weeks in Iowa constituted of a desperate scramble to regain his footing that included a humiliating ad mocking his debate performances, a gay-baiting ad that his own pollster derided as “nuts,” and a general departure from the jobs-focused message that he launched his campaign on in favor of gimmicky culture war attacks.