(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."
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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.
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FIRST ON CNN: Huntsman to drop out
I would encourage him to stay in so he can take some votes away from Gingrich. Lets be honest, Ron Paul is having the most successful of his 3 campaigns to date but he is not the threat to Romney that Gingrich is. I preferred Huntsman to Romney, but now Romney is the only one left who can take the independent/conservative democrat votes from Obama. I will help re-elect Obama unless Romney is the GOP candidate.
What!!! Perry's still in the race, I thought he went back to Texas...
Gov. Perry just doesn't get it, does he?
Mr. Grooms – Perry isn't that smart – You would have to get all of your republican congress people in s.c. to talk to him. Such as Lindsey Graham / & the "dim-wit" De-Mint, which I'm sure both of them have been in office for so many terms, that it's pitiful. As a matter of fact -I hope he stays IN, maybe he will take Votes away from "the Newter"
Ron Paul 2012 :-) (or) Obama 2012 :-(
Perry's "early mistakes": As in running in the first place. These greatly less than "viable candidates" make a circus mockery of electoral politics.
Perry needs to go home to Texas, and call another Prayer meeting! I don't think he has much coming in South Carolina!
►Perry loses key South Carolina supporter◄
Perry will LOSE all supporters including Huntsman's daughters...LMAO
Perry lost after the Iowa primary – It just didn't sink in yet!
I think this is not the time to tell Perry to go home, he should wait until after SC. Just look at Santorum, he did well in Iowa according to the polls only a week before the caucus. Just saying, it's only three states in.