Photograph by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Rick Perry has confirmed that he's staying in the presidential race.
"This was not a hard decision," he said, according to the Associated Press. From the AP:
He said he decided to stay in the race for the Republican presidential nomination during a cold, morning run. He sounded glad to be finished with the Iowa portion of the campaign and looked ahead to South Carolina's contest on Jan. 21.
"This is quirky place and a quirky process to say the least," Perry said of Iowa and its caucuses. "We're going to go into places where they have actual primaries and there are going to be real Republicans voting."
Uh, no hard feelings, Iowa. But it wasn't Rick; it was you.
Slate's XX Factor blog, meanwhile, breaks down Michele Bachmann's campaign-ending speech for clues as to what's next for the Minnesota firebrand.
UPDATE 12:05 p.m.: Perhaps Rick Perry is feeling a little bit better about his chances now that Tea Party rival Michele Bachmann has left the race.
The morning after announcing he was suspending his campaign and canceling a trip to South Carolina, the Texas governor tweeted on Wednesday, "Here we come South Carolina!"
And National Journal cites an unnamed Republican official saying that Perry is staying in the race:
The official said Perry will take a couple of days off in Texas and then head to New Hampshire for two weekend debates.
After New Hampshire, Perry plans to campaign in South Carolina, the next step in the Republican calendar. The decision means conservative voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina will continue to split their votes, a prosect likely to help establish Mitt Romney as the favorite.
UPDATE 11:35 a.m.: Bachmann's out.
The one-time Tea Party favorite announced in a press conference Wednesday morning that she is suspending her campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. News earlier Wednesday that she had canceled a planned trip to South Carolina, a key early primary state, had fueled talk that her run was likely over.
“Last night the people of Iowa spoke with a very fair voice, and so I have decided to stand aside," she said.
She added that her focus all along had been on repealing Obamacare and defeating "the president's agenda of socialism." She said she would keep up the fight despite leaving the race.
Bachmann established herself as an upstart leader of a rejuvenated Republican party when she founded the House Tea Party Caucus, and drew comparisons to Sarah Palin when she entered the presidential race. Her campaign hit its high-water mark with a win in the Ames Straw Poll, but sputtered when fellow conservative Rick Perry entered the race and took much of her support.
Now she's following Perry off the trail, leaving Rick Santorum as the candidate most likely to appeal to evangelicals and social conservatives.
POST Wednesday, Jan. 4, 9:41 a.m.: Rick Santorum’s gain was their loss.
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, two Tea Party-backed candidates who enjoyed leads in the Iowa polls earlier this year, have both canceled planned trips to South Carolina after poor finishes in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses.
Perry went ahead and announced he is suspending his campaign. Bachmann has scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. in which many expect her to do the same.
Perry, the Texas governor who has never lost an election, finished fifth in Iowa with 10.3 percent of the vote. In his concession speech he told supporters he planned to return to Texas and assess the situation. “With a little prayer and reflection, I’m going to decide the best path forward,” he said, according to ABC News.
It was a long fall from the top for a man who was once the front-runner in the state.
Bachmann may also reconsider her campaign after getting just 5 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, Politico reports.
One of Iowa’s most prominent conservatives, Bob Vander Plaats, called Tuesday for both Perry and Bachmann to drop out and endorse the right wing’s new champion, Rick Santorum, The Hill notes. If he can consolidate conservative support, he could pose more of a threat to the relatively moderate Mitt Romney than would a divided Tea Party vote.
Correction, Jan. 4, 2012: This article originally misspelled Jon Huntsman's first name. (Return to the corrected sentence.)