(Updates with Perry comment in second paragraph.)
Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Texas Governor Rick Perry said he will decide whether he will continue his Republican presidential bid after a fifth-place finish in yesterday’s Iowa caucuses.
“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, 61, told supporters late last night.
His early surge in national polls after he entered the race in mid-August was hurt by poor debate performances. Perry’s final push in Iowa, a 44-city bus tour, failed to rally voters behind him. He had aimed to win over social conservatives and position himself as an alternative to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Romney and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania were battling for first place in the caucuses, with the race too close to call as of early today. The two men each held the lead at various points as the caucus vote was tallied.
U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas ran a close third in the caucuses. The top trio were followed, in order, by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Perry and U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
In the month following Perry’s candidacy announcement, he climbed to the top of the polls. He quickly drew criticism after making disparaging comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Social Security.
Perry on Aug. 15 said things could get “ugly” for Bernanke in Texas if he tried additional, “almost treasonous,” monetary stimulus before the next presidential election.
His campaign was dogged by debate appearances he acknowledged were mediocre and his standing in the polls dropped by as much as 20 percentage points in October.
Perry’s chances took a hit after a November debate in which he couldn’t remember the name of the third government agency he would eliminate if he became president.
He named two, the departments of Commerce and Education, and then said he couldn’t remember the third. “I can’t. Sorry. Oops,” he said.
Perry touted economic gains and job creation in Texas during his 10 years as governor and portrayed himself as a Washington outsider.
In an effort to distinguish himself from others in the contest, Perry proposed giving individuals the option of paying a 20 percent flat tax on their income as part of his economic plan. He also proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.
--With assistance from John McCormick in Chicago. Editors: Don Frederick, Jim Rubin.
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