This morning Rick Perry, the conservative Governor of Texas, announced his withdrawal from the Republican Presidential race with polls in South Carolina showing him at only 4%. He entered the nomination process back in the summer with an enthusiastic reception from party members – especially Christian Evangelicals – which thrust him into front-runner position and attracted $17 million in campaign funding. His poor debating skills – exemplified when he could not remember the last of the three federal agencies he would abolish as President – and his record of leniency towards some illegal immigrants soon helped to ensure that his popularity plummeted.
His exit leaves Republicans across the nation with only four candidates to chose from – Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Rick Perry quickly endorsed Newt Gingrich, currently running second in the polls in South Carolina, as the most viable conservative candidate. Whether Newt can overcome some of his negative baggage and beat the favourite, Mitt Romney, remains to be seen. If his second wife has anything to do with it that won’t happen: tonight she’ll appear in a television interview giving details of Gingrich’s request for an open marriage after she discovered he had a mistress. The mistress in question is now his third wife.
The Republican primary in South Carolina, only the third of the 50 states to vote, will take place on Saturday 21st January 2012. The blood-bath continues.