Governor Mitt Romney won last night’s Iowa caucus by eight votes – the narrowest victory in its history. Former Senator Rick Santorum (PA) placed second and Congressman Ron Paul (TX) placed third in the first contest for the 2012 presidential nomination.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN) ended her bid for the nomination today after a disappointing sixth place finish in last night’s caucus, stating “I have decided to stand aside … I will not be continuing in this race for the presidency.”
She urged Republicans to “… rally around the person that our country and our party and our people select to be that standard bearer” at a news conference in Des Moines.
Bachmann is not the first defection from the field of Republican hopefuls: businessman Herman Cain suspended his campaign on December 3, 2011 amid allegations of sexual improprieties. Cain denied all accusations, but still decided to conclude his run for the presidential nomination “… because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry took fifth place, after former Newt Gingrich, in yesterday’s caucus. After the late night results were announced, Perry stated that he was going “reassess” his campaign, leading many to conclude he intended to leave the Republican race for the nomination. This morning, Perry declared his intention to continue his campaign via Twitter: “And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State … Here we come South Carolina!!!
The first Republican primary is set for next Tuesday, January 10, in New Hampshire. Governor Romney received an endorsement from his 2008 rival, Arizona Senator John McCain, this morning in Manchester, New Hampshire, stating “I am really here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to make sure that we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America.”
Senator McCain joins other high profile politicos endorsing Romney, including Governor Chris Christie, Senator Elizabeth Dole and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Former President George H.W. Bush announced his unofficial endorsement of the former Massachusetts governor last month.