Gov. Rick Perry (AP)

Rick Perry becomes first candidate to drop out of presidential race

Perry becomes the first of 17 Republican candidates to "suspend" his 2016 bid

Sophia Tesfaye
September 12, 2015 1:28AM (UTC)

Rick Perry made it final. His second bid for the White House ends as a failure, if not in nearly as dramatic of fashion.

The former Texas governor announced the immediate suspension of his campaign during a speech at the Eagle Forum in St. Louis, Missouri this afternoon.


Perry invoked his faith before announcing he was suspending his campaign, calling it a privilege to speak with the American people. Perry promised he had no regrets about his decision. As Salon's Simon Maloy noted earlier this week, Perry did't have much of a choice:

In the past few weeks, Perry’s campaign has imploded. He was booted from Fox News’ main-stage debate at the last minute by a surging John Kasich, and then got upstaged at the kids-table debate by Carly Fiorina. He’s been unable to convince anyone to give him money, and so he had to stop paying his staff, who have understandably decamped for campaigns that are in stronger financial shape. His New Hampshire operations have gone completely dark, and he’s down to one paid staffer in Iowa. The only thing keeping this corpse of a campaign twitching is Perry’s relatively well-funded super PAC, which for now is providing the things a campaign needs to actually function: advertising, warm bodies, etc.

Calling 2016, "the most important election in our lifetime," Perry praised the now dwindled field of 16 Republicans as the "best in a generation."

"I step aside knowing our party is in good hands," Perry argued, praising his former Republican rivals.


Perry then got emotional and in a sing-songy manner, implored the conservative activists in the room to mold America after "the limited government freedom state pioneered in places like Texas" without succumbing to the darker right-wing xenophobic voices in the Republican Party, calling it the "season of cynical politics."

Perry took particular focus on the tone of nativist campaigns like that of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's:

Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ. We can enforce our laws and our borders, and we can love all who live within our borders, without betraying our values.

It is time to elevate our debate from divisive name-calling, from soundbites without solutions, and start discussing how we will make the country better for all if a conservative is elected president.

Perry also repeated his campaign's emphasize on the plight of African-Americans:


Conservative principles applied consistently will make life better for all, but especially minority Americans. More African-Americans are living in poverty since President Obama took office. That’s because he offers them government programs, instead of creating new incentives for people to work.

We can improve life for minority Americans. The formula is simple: stop politically correct regulation policies that make housing so expensive for single moms, let low and middle-income Americans keep more of what they make, challenge all kids to exceed in school.

We did that in Texas, and now we have the highest graduation rate for minority students


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia TesfayeFOLLOW @SophiaTesfaye

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