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Despite dismal finish in Iowa, Rick Perry says he’ll continue presidential campaign

CONCORD, N.H. -- After a disappointing fifth-place finish in Iowa, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced last night he would reassess his bid to become president and return to his home state “for a little prayer and reflection.”

It didn’t take long.

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In a widely circulated tweet today, Perry wrote: ‘‘And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State. ... Here we come South Carolina!!!’’

The tweet linked to a photo of the governor in jogging attire flashing a thumbs up.

The tweet apparently caught even some of his own staffers by surprise. But Perry campaign manager Joe Allbaugh told the Politico website that the governor is going forward.

His decision to slog through until at least the South Carolina primary, being held Jan. 21, adds drama to the GOP’s presidential race in the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses that seemed to defy early prognostications.

Perry made his announcement moments after Representative Michele Bachmann said she would abandon the race. Both candidates had been seeking the support of Tea Party conservatives and born-again Christians.

Perry is seeking to resurrect his candidacy in the Palmetto State, which hosts the first contest in a Southern state. Florida holds its presidential primary on Jan 31.

Perry, who is expected to take part in Saturday’s debate in New Hampshire, is not expected to campaign heavily in the Granite State, which holds its primary on Tuesday.

When he entered the race last summer, Perry was instantly catapulted into the upper tier of the crowded the field.

But in the Iowa caucuses, he garnered just 10 percent of the vote, trailing former House speaker Newt Gingrich and far behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Representative Ron Paul, his fellow Texan.

Bobby Caina Calvan can be reached at bobby.calvan@globe.com. Follow him on twitter @GlobeCalvan.
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