His plans to go to South Carolina today were shelved, and Perry, after a fifth-place finish in Iowa. told supporters he was headed home to Texas to “determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.”

By going home instead of to South Carolina, Perry set a flight plan that probably will end with his withdrawal from the race. And it came about two hours after he said he would “wait to see in the morning what it looks like.”

Perry, whose ideology seemed spot-on for Iowa conservatives, outpolled only Michelle Bachmann and Jon Huntsman. Bachmann, like Perry, cratered after a fast start. Huntsman didn’t campaign here.

Perry had been scheduled to be in Aiken S.C., today to begin a push toward that state’s Jan. 21 primary. He had already planned to make little effort for next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary in which Mitt Romney is a prohibitive favorite and Perry is in single digits in polls.

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