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Rick Perry has returned to Texas to "assess" his presidential campaign in the wake of a fifth-place finish in the Iowa Caucus. Perry's original plan had been to ignore New Hampshire and head to the next, next primary in South Carolina. Instead, he will step back and reconsider "whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," a phrase that can only mean that his run for the White House is all but over.

It was actually over weeks ago, after a series of debate gaffes and at least one head-scratching speech convinced most Americans that the Governor of Texas was not ready for primetime. Despite a considerable bankroll and good name recognition, voters stopped considering him a viable presidential option a long time ago and even his own employees can't figure out how his campaign turned into such a massive disaster. Now that he's got solid numbers to prove it, the end is near. (Two candidates that did even worse than he did, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman, will likely continue for a least a couple more weeks.)

The only question remains: Where would the 10% of voters that went for Perry have ended up had he dropped out sooner? Will his supporters go to Romney, Santorum or some other candidate?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.