Rick Perry
Rick Perry's failed presidential campaign has hurt his image as the governor of Texas. Reuters

Rick Perry will return to Texas to reassess his campaign in light of a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, he announced near midnight on Tuesday.

The results were not a surprise -- they mirrored those of pre-caucus polls -- but until the caucuses began, Perry was still vowing to stay in the race through South Carolina no matter how well or poorly he did in Iowa. But reality is a different beast, and, forced to confront the financial practicalities of continuing a losing campaign, he is reconsidering.

With the voters' decision tonight in Iowa, I've decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus [and] determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race, Perry told supporters in Iowa.

Though he did not make a definitive statement, the fact that he is returning to Texas rather than flying immediately to South Carolina, as he had planned, would indicate that he is leaning toward ending his campaign.

Perry became emotional earlier in his speech while reading a letter from a volunteer. He said that his campaign, though seemingly unsuccessful, has been the most incredible experience of his life.

This campaign has never been about me, he added. It's about a movement of Americans who see our country -- that it's not on the track that most of us want it to be on.

Michele Bachmann -- who placed sixth, about 5 percentage points below Perry -- appears to still be in the race. The people of Iowa have spoken, Bachmann said at a post-caucus rally, before adding, There are many more chapters to be written on our path to the nomination.