ST. LOUIS _ Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Friday, becoming the first major candidate of the 2016 campaign to give up on the White House.
The longest-serving governor in Texas history told a group of conservative activists in St. Louis that “some things have become clear” and he was suspending his campaign.
“We have a tremendous field of candidates — probably the greatest group of men and women,” Perry said. “I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, as long as we listen to the grassroots, listen to that cause of conservatism. If we do that, then our party will be in good hands.”
Well over a dozen Republicans are competing for the party’s nomination.
Four years after his first bid for the White House ended after disappointing finishes in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Perry this time couldn’t even make it to the second debate night of the 2016 race after failing to poll well enough to qualify.
In a debate four years ago, he couldn’t remember the third federal agency he’d promised to close if elected and muttered, “Oops” _ a moment that doomed his bid.
The 2016 Republican campaign has been dominated by billionaire Donald Trump, who stole away Perry’s Iowa campaign chairman after Perry was forced to suspend paying members of his staff as his campaign fundraising dried up.
A group of super PACs, largely funded by three big Perry backers, had briefly kept Perry afloat by raising $17. His decision Friday came as a surprise to those groups, which are barred from communicating directly with the campaign.