Texas Gov. Rick Perry has decided to end his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, according to The Wall Street Journal. In a press conference today, Perry endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Perry leaving the campaign and endorsing Gingrich could not come at a worse time for former Massachusetts governor and GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. Recent Politico polls show that Gingrich has the big “mo” and has risen from nearly dead in the water to just 7 percentage points behind Romney. Romney currently leads with 37%, followed by Gingrich with 30%. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are some ways off with 11% and 10% respectively, while Perry had just 4% of the vote. The remaining 8% of voters were undecided.
Perry’s endorsement will certainly benefit Gingrich and boost his conservative bona fides, but even assuming every Perry voter flocks to Gingrich, it won’t be enough to win the South Carolina primary. Gingrich will need to find a way to either convince those undecided voters to vote for him, or take voters from the remaining candidates. Still, there is a very good chance that what might have been a crowning moment for Romney will instead prolong the GOP primary season.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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