According to anonymous Republican officials, Texas Governor Rick Perry is abandoning his Republican presidential bid and endorsing Newt Gingrich.
CNN has reported that Perry is planning to announce his decision at a press conference in North Charleston, South Carolina at today.
Perry's decision to abandon his campaign comes after a rapid descent from the heights of popularity he once enjoyed. The socially conservative governor was considered the front-runner of the campaign shortly after he entered the race, even gracing the cover of TIME magazine in September, but his support cratered after a series of debate missteps. He finished in a disappointing fifth place in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primary, with polls for South Carolina showing him stuck in last place.
No Republican candidate has won the presidential nomination without a victory in South Carolina since 1980.
With the South Carolina primary as the possible last opportunity to slow the Mitt Romney juggernaut, many conservatives have been anxiously anticipating Perry's exit, in the hope that his supporters could be encouraged to support another Romney alternative.
While the Republican race has tightened as of late in South Carolina (who votes Saturday), polls show Romney leading Gingrich by 10 percentage points.
It is rumored that Perry will endorse Newt Gingrich upon his exit. Gingrich is viewed as the most viable alternative to defeat Romney after a new poll showed him gaining momentum.