PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he would head home "to determine whether there is a path forward" for his White House bid after he finished a distant fifth in the Iowa caucuses.
At times pausing to collect his emotions, Perry told supporters that he appreciated their work but that he needed to consider whether there was a viable strategy for him to restart his campaign in South Carolina.
"With the voters' decision tonight in Iowa, I decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," Perry said, his family standing behind him.
Before Perry spoke, his advisers tried to paint the first contest in the South as the real start to his strategy and braced for a lackluster performance in the Iowa caucuses, which typically winnows the field of presidential hopefuls.
Perry entered the race in August to great fanfare only to nosedive. He had planned to make South Carolina his final stand, but the events he scheduled there for Wednesday were put on hold while he headed to Austin.
"With a little prayer and reflection, I'm going to decide the best past forward," he said. "But I want to tell you, there's been no greater joy in my life than to be able to share with the people of Iowa and this country that there is a model to take this country forward and it is in the great state of Texas."