By Justin Sink
A tough fifth-place finish in Iowa for Rick Perry looks to be the death knell for a campaign beleaguered by a series of stumbles and gaffes that deflated the Texas governor's campaign soon after it ballooned to the top of the GOP polls this summer.
Perry came close to acknowledging as much while speaking to supporters Tuesday night, saying he would return to Texas to "reassess" his candidacy.
"They're looking for someone to stand up and give them hope that we can get this country back on track again," he continued. "But with the voters' decision tonight in Iowa, I have decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus and determine whether or not there is a path forward for myself in this race."
Perry had originally planned to head to South Carolina on Wednesday for campaign events but instead seemed likely to exit the race. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Perry had earned just 10 percent of the vote, placing him fifth in the GOP field.
"With a little prayer and reflection I'm going to figure out the best path forward," Perry said.
At his peak in September, Perry was polling around 32 percent, good enough for a 12-point lead on Mitt Romney. But poor performances in the debates — including an infamous moment where he forgot the third Cabinet-level agency he would eliminate — inflicted serious damage to his campaign.