AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 11 (UPI) — The Republican race for the White House saw its first casualty Friday — as former Texas governor Rick Perry formally dropped out of the campaign.
Perry’s camp made the announcement Friday afternoon, citing a poor showing at the polls so far — the exact same thing that brought his 2012 campaign to a similar end.
In making the announcement, Perry said the GOP field is just too strong to make enough headway to justify continuing his campaign.
“We have a tremendous field of candidates — probably the greatest group of men and women,” Perry said Friday. “I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, as long as we listen to the grassroots, listen to the cause of conservatism. If we do that, then our party will be in good hands.”
Perry’s camp also reportedly was beginning to experience severe financial difficulties. The New York Times reported Friday that the candidate was not able to pay staff members anymore.
Perry had been slated to participate in the Republicans’ second debate next week, which will be hosted and broadcast by CNN.
The former governor barely moved the needle at the polls so far. A field of more than a dozen candidates has made it difficult for anyone other than the frontrunners to stand out. Perry’s withdrawal reduces the number of GOP candidates to 16.
“[Perry] is a terrific guy and I wish him well. I know he will have a great future!” he tweeted.
“I have no doubt that his service to our nation is not over,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubioresponded.
“I give you this news with no regrets,” Perry said. “It has been a privilege for me, it has been an honor to travel this country, to speak with the American people about their hopes and their dreams, to see a sense of optimism being prevalent despite this season of cynical politics.”