Rick Perry said today that he has no plans to end his campaign just yet, one day after a crushing fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, which prompted the Texas governor to announce a brief hiatus for reassessment.
“This wasn’t a hard decision,” Perry told reporters today. “This is a quirky place and a quirky process to say the least, and we’re going to go into places where they have actual primaries and there are going to be real Republicans voting.”
Perry, 61, invested heavily in the Hawkeye state, buying more than $4 million in advertising in Iowa and establishing a strong ground game, which included more than 500 volunteers from 30 different states infiltrating the state in the week before the caucuses.
“Not that there aren’t real Republicans here in Iowa,” Perry added. “But the fact is it was a pretty loosey-goosey process, and you had a lot of people who were there that admitted they were Democrats voting in the caucuses last night, so we’re going.”
Entrance polls showed a higher-than-usual turnout of independents in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday, a trend that benefited libertarian-leaning Ron Paul but hurt conservative candidates like Perry.
The governor, who had thus far been undefeated in his political career, said he made his decision while running in the Raccoon Creek Park this morning.
Perry first hinted at his decision on Twitter earlier today, writing, ”Here we come South Carolina.”
The Texas governor will likely head to New Hampshire for the debates this weekend and then move on to South Carolina next week, a campaign source told ABC News.
Although Perry spent the most amount of his personal money in Iowa than any other candidate, he only earned 10 percent of the vote in the Hawkeye state.
Perry’s conservative stance failed to attract the much-needed Tea Party vote, which went mostly to Rick Santorum. Observers said Perry’s debate gaffes worked against him, and he also failed to deliver a consistent message. Instead of highlighting his jobs record, he decided to try to define himself as the values candidate.
As the Iowa results Tuesday night showed a hefty loss for Perry, the Texas governor said he will return to his home in Austin to determine whether there is a path forward for his campaign. His aides said they have the money to campaign in South Carolina, but needed to reassess whether it was worth it.
“With the voters’ decision tonight in Iowa, I’ve decided to return to Texas to assess the results of tonight’s caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race,” Perry said Tuesday night. “I’m going to decide the best path forward, but I want to tell you, 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.”
Perry has a skim on-the-ground campaign in New Hampshire, and with the exception of the debates, he will be skipping the Granite state altogether.
He said today he has no plans to change his campaign staff, a team that was revamped in October.
“I’m not changing, I’m still the same guy I always was. I’m going to keep my wife,” Perry joked, adding that staffing issues are the expertise of Joe Allbaugh, his campaign manager.
Michele Bachmann, who finished sixth behind Perry, suspended her campaign this morning.