Hours after Newt Gingrich announced he would end his presidential campaign next week, Gov. Rick Perry threw his support today to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
"Mitt Romney has earned the Republican presidential nomination through hard work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration," Perry said in a statement emailed Wednesday by his former press secretary, Ray Sullivan.
Perry has signaled he might want to run for president again, but he said in the email that he would work hard to help Romney defeat Obama in November.
“American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president,” Perry said. “Mitt's vision and record of private-sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government."
Perry had briefly emerged as Romney’s biggest threat when he rocketed to the top of the polls after announcing his run for president in August. The Texas governor repeatedly criticized Romney as a flip-flopper whose relatively moderate record as Massachusetts governor made him a bad fit for the conservative Republican electorate. Perry was faulted by some voters over his attacks on the “vulture capitalism” that Romney supposedly practiced at a corporate takeover firm.
Perry stumbled badly in the debates, and his campaign sputtered to an inglorious end in South Carolina in January. Perry immediately endorsed Gingrich and said he would remain loyal to the former U.S. House speaker as long as he remained in the race.
On Wednesday, Gingrich said that it was clear Romney would get the Republican nomination and that he would make his withdrawal formal next week.
Romney welcomed Perry’s embrace in a tweet Wednesday night.
"Great to have @GovernorPerry's support. Looking forward to working with him -- a lot to be done before November," he said.