Bachmann Leaves, Perry Stays, and Gingrich Goes in for the Kill

After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann—who won the Ames Straw Poll last summer—has suspended her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

“I have no regrets, none whatsoever,” she told the media, saying “I look forward to the next chapter in God’s plan” adding that Republicans “must rally around the person that our country, and our party, and our people decide to be the standardbearer.”

Rick Perry, who placed fifth in Iowa, was poised to suspend his bid for the presidency; last night, he announced a return to Texas to re-evaluate his campaign. If recent news is any indication, it didn’t take long for the governor to set a course; according to the campaign, Perry plans to continue with a renewed commitment to South Carolina. Even still, by floating a possible end to his candidacy, it’s likely that he’s harmed his standing with Republicans in the state.

As for the other candidates—Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman—all four have devoted their time to the New Hampshire primary. Gingrich, in particular, has pledged himself to stopping Romney’s advance:

He promised a debate that would clarify the choice between a “Reagan conservative” like himself, or "a Massachusetts moderate who, in fact, will be pretty good at managing the decay but has given no evidence in his years in Massachusetts of any ability to change the culture, or change the political structure, or change the government?”

Of course, if Gingrich were actually serious about stopping Romney, he’d follow Bachmann’s lead and drop out of the race. With fewer candidates to split the social-conservative vote, Romney’s path to the nomination would become that much more difficult.