AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is staying in the presidential race despite a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
He's written on his official Twitter account that "the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State . . . Here we come South Carolina!!!"
He's attached a photo of himself jogging near a lake, wearing Texas A&M running shorts and giving a thumbs-up.
The South Carolina primary is Jan. 21. New Hampshire's is next Tuesday.
Perry, 61, had told supporters Tuesday he would return to Texas to reassess his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination “to determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.”
There were mixed reports about whether Perry would fight hard in New Hampshire or skip the Granite State and head to South Carolina.
The New York Times
reported that a close supporter suggested Perry would not make a pitched battle for New Hampshire, which polls show Romney has locked up.
The same supporter told the Times that Perry would still participate in two debates this weekend. His decision to stay in the race surprised some of his advisers, however.
Anita Perry was said to be in favor of pushing forward in the campaign but others in his camp were divided over strategy. And donors urged him to stay through South Carolina, given the volatility of the race.
“Think how early we are in the process,” another person close to the Perry campaign told the Times. “The reality is, not one delegate was committed yesterday. We are still early enough in the process that if the candidate has the drive to go forward, he ought to.
“If we can get this back to a Perry v. Romney field,” the person added, “Perry can win.”
Perry’s early surge in national polls after he entered the race in mid-August was hurt by poor debate performances. His final push in Iowa, a 44-city bus tour, failed to rally voters behind him. He had aimed to win over social conservatives and position himself as an alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Romney defeated former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania by just eight votes in the caucuses, each winning a little less than 25 percent of the vote. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas ran third with about 21 percent. The top trio was followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Perry and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Bachmann ended her campaign today.
In the month following Perry’s candidacy announcement, he climbed to the top of the polls. He quickly drew criticism after making disparaging comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Social Security.
Perry on Aug. 15 said things could get “ugly” for Bernanke in Texas if he tried an additional, “almost treasonous,” monetary stimulus before the presidential election.
His campaign was dogged by debate appearances Perry acknowledged were mediocre and his standing in the polls dropped by as much as 20 percentage points in October.
Perry’s chances took a hit after a November debate in which he couldn’t remember the name of the third government agency he would eliminate if he became president.
He named two, the departments of Commerce and Education, and then said he couldn’t remember the third. “I can’t. Sorry. Oops,” he said.
Perry touted economic gains and job creation in Texas during his 10 years as governor and portrayed himself as a Washington outsider.
In an effort to distinguish himself from others in the contest, Perry proposed giving individuals the option of paying a 20 percent flat tax on their income as part of his economic plan. He also proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.
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