Rick Perry
Republican presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry answers a question at a Fox-sponsored forum for lower polling candidates held before the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015.REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Will Republican candidate Rick Perry be the first to drop out of the race for the White House? The former Texas governor raised eyebrows when it was revealed that he had stopped paying his campaign team in South Carolina.

According to the National Journal, Perry's South Carolina state director Katon Dawson confirmed that staffers in the state "have been paid up to two weeks ago." Dawson told the Journal that several core members of Team Perry will continue to work unpaid.

"We'll do it whether there's pay or no pay," Dawson said. He added, "Pay is only one reason people do this...We'll be able to live off the land for a while."

Cash-strapped Perry has had a difficult time in his second bid for the presidency in the 2016 election. His campaign has only raised $1.1m (£706,237) and has been forced to rely on his better-funded super PAC.

Despite this, Dawson maintained, "Nothing has changed with South Carolina as far as the mission at hand of helping the governor become the nominee of the party. Nothing has changed."

On 10 August, it was revealed that 65-year-old candidate had stopped paying all campaign staff throughout the country after fundraising dried out. According to the Washington Post, Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller told staff on 7 August that they would no longer receive pay and were free to look for other jobs.

"As the campaign moves along, tough decisions have to be made in respect to both monetary and time related resources," Miller said in a statement. "Governor Perry remains committed to competing in the early states and will continue to have a strong presence in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina."

Meanwhile, Austin Barbour, a senior advisor to Rick Perry's super PACs, told NBC News that the groups had been planning "for several weeks" to take over operations from his campaign.

"We saw several weeks ago when the campaign finance reports first came out that this was probably going to happen with the campaign, that they were going to have to go on a lean and mean operation that focused more on the governor's travel, doing events in the states...and the first three debates," Barbour told NBC News.

NBC News reported that Barbour appeared confident that Perry's presidential bid would continue.

"Things are going to break. It's been a slow process, but it's also been a very fluid process—the governor's favourables are so high, people like him, they know about his track record, they're going to see him do really well [in the debates]," he said. "After a couple of breakout performances, he'll be right at the top."

In 2012, Perry abandoned his presidential bid after trailing in the polls and instead endorsed fellow Republican Newt Gingrich.