Perry drops out; Iowa tips for Santorum

Rick Perry bows out of GOP race, endorses Gingrich; new figures put Rick Santorum ahead of Romney in January 3 Iowa primary.

rick santorum constipated 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
rick santorum constipated 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Texas Governor Rick Perry dropped out of the race for the Republican US presidential nomination on Thursday and endorsed rival Newt Gingrich as the best candidate to face Democratic President Barack Obama in the November presidential election.
Hours earlier, certified results released by the Iowa Republican Party showed that former US senator Rick Santorum won the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican US presidential caucuses by a razor-thin margin of 34 votes.
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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had been declared the winner on the night of the caucuses, but now falls to second place. Santorum received 29,839 votes, compared with 29,805 for Romney, according to the new figures.
Romney had previously been declared the winner by 8 votes. Santorum now ends up the winner after being almost an afterthought in the race just weeks before the Iowa contest.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry is dropping out of the race for the Republican US presidential nomination, and is likely to endorse Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the US House of Representatives, two Perry campaign sources said on Thursday.
Perry has scheduled a news conference in South Carolina for 11 a.m.
The Iowa caucuses were the first contest in the state-by-state battle for the Republican presidential nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama on Nov. 6. The caucuses were a quirky contest in which voters in the Midwestern state cast ballots at hundreds of public meetings around the state.
After Iowa, Romney went on to win the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary. The next contest is Saturday in South Carolina.