Perry Will Leave Campaign Trail, Return to Texas to ‘Think’

Jan 3, 2012 11:58pm

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has never lost an election, may be the first official casualty of the Iowa caucuses.

Perry said Tuesday in his concession speech after his fifth place showing in the Iowa caucuses, he will leave the campaign trail and return to Austin, Texas, to take a few days off  to assess the results and “determine if there is a path forward for myself in this race.”

“With the voters’ decision tonight in Iowa I’ve decided to return to Texas assess the results of tonight’s caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race,” Perry told the crowd of over two hundred supporters.  “With a little prayer and reflection, I’m going to decide the best path forward.”

“There has been no greater joy in my life than to be able to share with the people of Iowa and of this country that there is a model to take this country forward and it is in the great state of Texas.  God Bless you and thank you all for being with us tonight.”

Perry’s decision was made an hour before his speech, according to Ray Sullivan, the communications director for Perry.  A small group of six to seven people, including Sullivan, Joe Allbaugh, who was brought onto manage the campaign , and several of Perry’s family members, met in Allbaugh’s hotel room to make the decision.

A few people in the room wanted to press on to South Carolina, but it was unclear who.

Sullivan insisted the campaign possessed enough funds to continue through Iowa but needed to reassess a number of factors.

“Just a snapshot of the numbers tonight were enough for us to want to go home and crunch them further and compare them to what we have, what resources we have and what the landscape looks like in South Carolina, so there was enough to step back and take some time to make the decision,” said Sullivan.

The Texas governor insisted all week that he planned to continue to South Carolina after the caucuses, regardless of a low finish in the Iowa caucuses, but Tuesday night’s results shifted the campaign’s stance and led to the reassessment. The bus Perry used throughout his three week bus tour of Iowa was supposed to head down to South Carolina this afternoon, but it did not.

Perry invested heavily in the Hawkeye, buying over $4 million dollars in advertisting in Iowa and establishing a strong ground game, which included over 500 volunteers from 30 different states infiltrating the state in the week before the caucuses.

The other Republican candidates, including Michele Bachmann who finished even further behind Perry, are continuing on to campaign in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Perry gladhanded with voters for less than 10 minutes after the speech.  Staffers seemed deflated right before the speech, but for the most part, surprised about the decision.

Perry will return to Austin Wednesday morning, and a decision about the path forward in his race could come as early as Thursday.

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