There are three reasons I'm quitting . . . (photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr)

Rick Perry is going to end his campaign for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Perry will hold a press conference in North Charleston, South Carolina at 11 am where he is expect to publicly make his announcement. The AP and Politico both report that Perry will endorse Newt Gingrich after dropping out of the race.

Given that Perry is currently polling at only about 4 percent in South Carolina it is hard to imagine his endorsement of Gingrich is really going to sway many votes. Probably the best part of the endorsement for Gingrich is that it does at least guarantee Gingrich some favorable press coverage just days before the South Carolina primary (this Saturday) and helps to promote the image that Gingrich is the anti-Romney.

The fall of Perry should probably be remembered as one of the most disastrous political campaigns ever. When Perry first entered the race he had a huge national lead, a great resume and impressive fund raising. The GOP was hungry for an alternative to Mitt Romney and Perry -on paper- fit the bill perfectly. All Perry had to do was look semi-competent on the debate stage and he likely could have won the nomination. Apparently though, ‘sound competent’ was just too hard for Perry and his numbers collapsed to almost nothing.

While we will probably never really know for sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if Perry’s decision to get out at this very moment doesn’t have a fair amount to do with Stephen Colbert’s push to get people to vote for Herman Cain as a sign of support for Colbert. Given how badly Perry was polling in South Carolina many people were speculating that Cain (Colbert) could have beaten Perry this Saturday. That might have been just too embarrassing of an end to an already pathetic campaign.

Update: David Dayen has more.