Rick Perry will drop out of the presidential race on Thursday and endorse Newt Gingrich, Fox News confirms, a decision that comes just two days before the South Carolina Republican primary.
The decision comes after the Texas governor, who once led the field of GOP hopefuls, endured disappointing finishes in the leadoff Iowa and New Hampshire contests. While he is polling only in single digits in South Carolina, his decision to withdraw could end up giving a boost to one of his opponents should his supporters gravitate toward a particular candidate.
Perry was seen as competing for social conservative supporters alongside Rick Santorum and Gingrich, though the latter two candidates were faring much better in the polls.
Perry is the second candidate this week to withdraw from the race. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman earlier dropped out following a distant third finish in the New Hampshire primary. He endorsed frontrunner Mitt Romney for the nomination.