Texas Governor Rick Perry, who ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in January, endorsed Mitt Romney as the party’s standard-bearer in the November election against President Barack Obama.
“Mitt Romney has earned the Republican presidential nomination through hard work, a strong organization and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama,” Perry, 62, said in a statement yesterday on his website.
Upon leaving the race on Jan. 19, Perry endorsed former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. After winning just two Republican primaries, Gingrich will suspend his campaign and throw his support to Romney, R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich spokesman, said.
Romney, 65, called Gingrich yesterday after sweeping five primaries on April 24 and invited him to join his campaign, Hammond said. The former Massachusetts governor coasted to victories in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island.
The sweep dispelled any remaining doubts within the party about his becoming the nominee, said Gingrich adviser Bob Walker, a former U.S. representative from Pennsylvania. Gingrich is talking to Romney and officials at the Republican National Committee about his role in the general election.
Gingrich, 68, failed to build on his Jan. 21 victory in the South Carolina primary. That momentum sputtered in Florida’s Jan. 31 primary, the next contest, where Gingrich lost to Romney by 14 percentage points.
As the Republican race proceeded, the anti-Romney vote Gingrich sought moved to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who established himself as the main alternative to the former Massachusetts governor when he swept Feb. 7 contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. Santorum went on to win other primaries while the only other one Gingrich captured was his home state of Georgia on March 6.
Santorum suspended his bid April 10, all but assuring the Republican nomination for Romney, who unsuccessfully sought the party’s nod four years ago. Romney’s remaining opponent is Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who has yet to win a primary or caucus.