TEXAS GOVERNOR Rick Perry has dropped out of the Republican nominating process for the US presidential election, throwing his weight behind rival Newt Gingrich to win the nomination.
Perry ended his bid for the White House at a press event today, just two days before the South Carolina primary vote, the third state to have its say in the Republican Party nomination process.
Perry gave his formal backing to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who has closed the gap on frontrunner Mitt Romney in South Carolina in recent days.
Perry had campaigned aggressively across the conservative state, hoping the first Southern primary would revive his fortunes – but his effort has not been reflected in polls that have come out in recent days.
He performed below expectations in both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary where he came fifth and sixth respectively. He had entered the race amid considerable buzz about his potential to go all the way to face Barack Obama in the autumn.
However a series of disastrous debate performances – including one where he forget which government agencies he wanted to abolish - and a campaign ad which was lambasted for being homophobic have seen his hopes falter.
His departure leaves four candidates in the race: Romney, Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas congressman Ron Paul.
Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman have already withdrawn from the race in the past three weeks.