NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Governor Rick Perry returned to Texas Thursday night after cutting short his quest for higher office.
"I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign," said former candidate Rick Perry as he formally ended his presidential bid in Charleston, South Carolina.
The republican's sudden exit from the campaign trail comes just two days before the South Carolina Primary. Stephen F. Austin State University political science professor Ken Collier is surprised by the timing.
"Since he decided to campaign in South Carolina, I thought he'd at least see how the vote went," said Collier.
The longest-serving Texas governor launched his campaign with stunning momentum, having created more jobs in Texas than all other states combined.
"A lot of people thought it was his race to win," said Collier.
Nacogdoches Republican Party Chair Jackie Yates even concedes the governor had a fatal flaw.
"There were several things he had to be good on unfortunately one of those things was debate and had didn't do real well in debates," said Yates.
Political experts say the flubs may have distracted voters from Perry's platform, creating a huge disconnect.
"It gave people something else to talk about," said Collier.
"You've not only got to have a message you've got to deliver the message," said Yates.
In the same breath as his departure, Perry endorsed Newt Gingrich. Collier doesn't think it carries any weight.
"Years ago he endorsed Rudolph Giuliani and it didn't really help Giuliani. Texans may like Rick Perry but that doesn't mean they like who he likes," said Collier.
The Governor's major donors have already hinted they're supporting front-runner Mitt Romney instead. Governor Perry has three years remaining in his term in Austin.