Conservatives Call on Rick Perry to Exit Race

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Several prominent conservatives have called for Rick Perry to call his presidential bid quits, with one blogger urging the Texas governor to end his campaign and throw his backing toward Newt Gingrich.

Erick Erickson, the founder of, the website that hosted the event where Perry announced his presidential bid in August, penned an entry today calling Perry a potential "kingmaker" in the South Carolina primary if he drops out before the weekend.

"Barring a miracle, this is Rick Perry's final act in the 2012 elections. On Saturday, he will come in last in South Carolina," Erickson wrote in a diary entry on RedState today. "Perry, however, has a potential trump card up his sleeve as he rebuilds political capital. It's simple: he can drop out today, and endorse someone else. Doing so today, before the CNN debate tomorrow, gives the news time to sink in."

Erickson suggested that the Texas governor's choice of an endorsement would likely be Gingrich, not Romney or Santorum.

Earlier in the day, radio host Laura Ingraham urged the Texas governor to leave the race in order to boost another social conservative over front-runner Mitt Romney. "It's time for Rick Perry to drop out of the race - he is only helping Romney by splitting the vote," Ingraham tweeted.

Sarah Palin also threw her support behind Gingrich Tuesday, saying that she would vote for him if she were a South Carolinian to keep the race going.

Gingrich himself has called on Perry and Rick Santorum to drop out, saying that they are helping Romney by staying in the race and dividing the conservative vote.

Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry, said the Texas governor is focused on the people of South Carolina, not the pundits declaring the end of his campaign. "Pundits aren't going to decide this race. The people of South Carolina are going to decide this race," Miner said. "The governor's focused on the people of South Carolina and their votes, not a pundit sitting behind a computer somewhere."

Asked if there is a chance Perry will drop out of the race before Saturday, Miner said, "We are in this race through the primary. … There is no intention of leaving this race."