Presidential race 2012: Perry drops out

Greta Kaul

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Thursday will drop out of the race and endorse Newt Gingrich, the New York Times reports, citing Republican officials.

Perry’s endorsement is designed to bolster conservative candidate Newt Gingrich’s campaign in the face of Saturday’s South Carolina primary.  With fewer conservatives in the race, Gingrich hopes to emerge as a strong conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

After Iowans showed little support for Perry in their caucuses two weeks ago, Perry returned to Texas to reassess his campaign. He hoped a southern state primary would reinvigorate and add momentum to his campaign. But in recent South Carolina polls, Perry’s support was in the single digits.

The Republican slate of candidates is now down to four, including Gingrich, Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.