Rick Perry Drops Out of 2016 Presidential Race

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, July 2, 2015. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo
Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, July 2, 2015.

Rick Perry is calling it quits on his 2016 White House bid.

The former Texas governor told the Eagle Forum in St. Louis, Missouri Friday afternoon that he is suspending his presidential campaign, making him the first 2016 presidential candidate to do so.

“We have a tremendous field –- the best in a generation -– so I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too,” he said, adding that he has "no regrets" about his run.

"That is why today I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States."

Perry, whose White House bid started on June 4 and lasted 97 days, has been polling in the low single digits throughout his campaign -- most recently at 1 percent in the crucial first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. He was slated to debate for the second time in the lower-tier debate on CNN next week.

He also took what appeared to be a veiled swipe at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. "Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ," he said.

In recent weeks, Perry has been particularly vocal in his criticism of the real estate mogul, calling him a "cancer on conservatism."

"My second warning is this: we cannot indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further. The answer to our current divider-in-chief is not to elect a Republican divider-in-chief," Perry said, adding that the nominee "must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity."

It seems though that Trump has at least buried the hatchet, tweeting today wishing Perry well and that he "will have a great future."

In August, reports came out about Perry not having enough money to pay his campaign staff. Perry’s campaign chairman Sam Clovis quit from the former Texas governor’s campaign in late August and went to work for Trump.

"The answer to a president nominated for soaring rhetoric and no record is not to nominate a candidate whose rhetoric speaks louder than his record," Perry said in his speech. "It is not to replicate the Democrat model of selecting a president, falling for the cult of personality over durable life qualities."

He also ran in 2012, briefly polling at the top of the pack before falling to eventual nominee Mitt Romney.

Other fellow 2016 contenders including Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum expressed their support for Perry.