Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the Republican presidential race Thursday, choosing instead to endorse House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Perry decided to end his campaign for the Republican nomination hours before the final debate leading up to the South Carolina primary.
Perry’s announcement follows on the heels of recent news that front-runner Mitt Romney did not actually win the Iowa caucus. A final certified count showed that Rick Santorum actually won by 34 votes.
Many analysts say Perry dropping out will free up the debate.
“With fewer candidates, the debates are going to become more focused, and the remaining candidates will have more screen time,” said Ferrel Guillory, a professor in UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication who studies Southern politics.
Brandon Hartness, chairman for the Orange County Republican Party and member of the UNC College Republicans, said Perry dropping out will help Gingrich and Santorum, who are competing for the conservative part of the state.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.