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Rick Perry bows out of Republican presidential race

GOP 2016 Perry Koch Brothers

@PatriciaMazzei

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who had failed to get much traction and was struggling financially in his second campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, dropped out of the 2016 race.

He made the announcement in St. Louis on Friday, five days before he was slated to again appear in an undercard debate with other candidates barely registering in public-opinion polls.

"When I gave my life to Christ, I said, 'your ways are greater than my ways. Your will superior to mine,'" Perry said, according to his prepared remarks. "Today I submit that His will remains a mystery, but some things have become clear. That is why today I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States.

"We have a tremendous field –- the best in a generation –- so I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too." 

Perry's cash-strapped campaign had been forced to cut back staff last month -- a single worker was getting paid in Iowa, the first caucus state -- and a political committee backing Perry had been trying to cover expenses typically paid for directly by candidate's bank accounts. 

His exit leaves 16 Republicans in the race.

Though Perry was the highest-ranked of the lower-tier candidates in the first GOP debate in August, he failed to jump to the prime-time show for the second debate. Only former Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina did. Debates are key for candidates, especially ones low in the polls, to harness moments that will impress donors and voters.

Perry was a top contender for the 2012 Republican nomination, but by his own admission he wasn't as prepared as he should have been to vie for the job. He stumbled in a debate, forgetting which was the third federal agency he would eliminate as president and saying, "Oops."

Here's Jeb Bush's reaction:

And Marco Rubio's:

Photo credit: Paul Vernon, Associated Press

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