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Rick Perry New Hampshire Primary 2012 Outlook

Posted: 01/10/2012 7:27 am

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is polling at less than 1 percent in New Hampshire and has turned his attention to the next contest, South Carolina's primary on Jan. 21.

After a disappointing fifth-place finish in Iowa, Perry told supporters that he was returning home to Texas to reassess his bid for president. The next day he announced that he was staying in the race, a decision that came to him during a cold morning jog.

"And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State... Here we come South Carolina!!!" he tweeted on Wednesday along with a photo of himself in running clothes.

While he remains optimistic he can win the conservative vote in the South, his struggling campaign and poor finish in Iowa have left some supporters looking for alternatives.

"Obviously it's not looking very good right now," said Pete Silva, a member of the governor's steering committee.

While Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich attend primary night parties in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Perry will be the only one of the six major candidates to skip the primary.

Perry's support has been falling since he surged to the top of the GOP pack for a brief time in August. A series of unforced errors including his big "oops" moment have become the hallmark of his campaign and haven't helped him in the polls.

The Polls

HuffPost's Mark Blumenthal reports:

The final release before the New Hampshire primary from Suffolk University and Boston's 7News' daily tracking poll shows continued narrowing in Mitt Romney's lead over the rest of the Republican field. Interviews conducted on Saturday and Sunday showed Romney's support falling to 33 percent, though he still leads Ron Paul (with 20 percent) by thirteen percentage points.

Romney and Paul were followed by Jon Huntsman (13 percent), Newt Gingrich (11 percent) and Rick Santorum (10 percent), Buddy Roemer (2 percent), Rick Perry (1 percent), leaving 12 percent undecided.

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Read more about Perry's campaign below.

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In the beginning of Rick Perry's political career, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1984. As a freshman, he joined other fiscal conservatives in the "pit bulls," named after where they sat in the lower pit of the House Appropriations Committee.

During the 1988 presidential primaries, he supported the candidacy of fellow Southern Democrat Al Gore and worked on his Texas campaign.

Perry ended up voting for George H.W. Bush that year and, in 1989, he switched parties to become a Republican.

Despite his party change, Perry has never lost an election, a record that goes back to elementary school.

Following his three terms in the Texas House. Perry was elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner in 1990 and was re-elected in 1994. His background as the son of a cotton farmer and an animal science major at Texas A&M University undoubtedly helped his campaign.

In 1998, Perry was elected as Lieutenant Governor of Texas. It was during this race that he had a falling out with GOP strategist Karl Rove which led to a reported rivalry with the George W. Bush camp.

When Bush won the presidency in 2000, Perry ascended to become governor in December 2000. He has been re-elected to the position three times since, making him the longest continually-serving governor in the nation.

Correction: An earlier version of this caption incorrectly stated that Perry was the chairman of Gore's Texas campaign.

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Filed by Elyse Siegel  |