Former Texas governor Rick Perry became the first casualty of the overcrowded field of candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, suspending his campaign Friday.
In the first Republican debate last month, his support in national surveys was so low that he was left out of the main debate with the top 10 candidates, and was relegated to a second, preliminary debate.
For the next debate, scheduled for next week, Perry was already left out of the main field.
The 65-year-old former governor of Texas had once been considered a strong contender to be the conservative party’s standardbearer, but his 2012 campaign failed quickly after a series of verbal gaffes.
The US Air Force veteran was one of the few candidates who has served in the military.
The Republican race has been led in early surveys by flamoyant real estate tycoon Donald Trump, whose fame from past reality shows and inflammatory rhetoric – on topics from immigration to his opponents’ personalities and physical appearance – have dominated headlines.
Expected frontrunner Jeb Bush, a Florida ex-governor whose father and brother have held the presidency, trails Trump, along with surprise breakout candidate Ben Carson, an African-American neurosurgeon and conservative commentator.
The rest of the pack has trailed distantly.