Jon Huntsman plans to drop out of the GOP race Monday morning and throw his support behind frontrunner Mitt Romney.
The former Utah governor will make it official in South Carolina nearly a week after he finished third in New Hampshire's primary.
"I want to beat expectations, you know, like we did in New Hampshire."
Huntsman gave no sign he was planning to back out earlier this weekend, telling reporters it's too soon to predict how he'll do in Saturday's primary.
"The lay of the land changes considerably, so let's not draw too many conclusions until we get to the 24, 48-hour mark," he said.
But he had always admitted expectations in South Carolina were low. A recent poll showed him with only 4 percent support, putting him behind even comedian Stephen Colbert.
But Huntsman's endorsement may not help Romney where he needs it most, among social and evangelical conservatives.
"The question is, will the people of South Carolina vote their conscience?"
Rick Santorum is going after that vote. He got a boost over the weekend when a group of social conservative leaders to decided to back him as the Romney alternative.
Newt Gingrich was their second choice ahead of Rick Perry.
"I ask you to think about the kind of leader you want to preside over our nation," Perry said. "Who will be faithful to your values."
The candidates will have another chance to make their case Monday night when they face off in the latest debate.
Word of Huntsman's decision came on the same day that he received an endorsement from South Carolina's largest newspaper.