(CNN) - A key Rick Perry supporter, South Carolina state Sen. Larry Grooms, withdrew his support for the Texas governor and urged Perry to drop his presidential bid, the legislator's office announced Monday.
"I still believe he would be a great national leader, but campaigns are tough and early mistakes and missed opportunities have taken their toll," the state senator said in a statement. "Now is the time to get out and pass the baton to another leader that can take the message to the next level."
Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com and on the CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
The announcement came five days before Perry competes in South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary.
Grooms, a prominent social conservative in the state, said it was "apparent that Governor Perry cannot win" and lacked a strategy moving forward after South Carolina.
"Remaining in the race at this point only serves to steer votes away from viable candidates," Grooms said, without listing any names.
According to a recent American Research Group poll measuring support in the state, Perry placed fourth in the GOP presidential field with 9% of support from likely primary voters.
But in recent days Perry has been aggressively canvassing the state, courting voters and making his pitch.
"South Carolina picks presidents," Perry said at a campaign stop on Friday, referencing the Palmetto State's record of electing the eventual nominee.
"Don't let anybody tell you this is who is going to win, or this is who can win, or this is who can't win. The people of South Carolina are smart enough to figure out on their own what they want as the President of the United States," he added.
- CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.