01:54 - Source: CNN
Rick Perry stops paying staffers

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"Everything hasn't gone exactly like I wanted in the campaign," Perry said in South Carolina

CNN first reported on Monday that Perry had stopped paying his staffers in key primary states

Anderson, South Carolina CNN  — 

Three days after it was revealed that Rick Perry was no longer paying his staff due to money woes, the former Texas governor struck an optimistic tone on the campaign trail Thursday.

During a town hall event here in upstate South Carolina, Perry started off with a candid admission about the state of his campaign.

“Everything hasn’t gone exactly like I wanted in the campaign,” he told the crowd, before profusely thanking his now all-volunteer staff in South Carolina, including his state chairman and consultants.

“You know, I’m really proud of the men and women that have volunteered. The vast majority of our folks have volunteered to serve until we get our fundraising back on track,” he said to the press after the event. “I’m quite confident that not only are we going to be back on track fundraising, but there’s a lot of men and women out there that are willing to volunteer for this country.”

His refrain, which he used on stage and then again to the media, was, “It’s a long game. This is a long process.” He joked that the primary date, which in South Carolina is Feb. 20, makes the race “a marathon, not a sprint. It’s nearly six months, I think, until the first votes are cast, so there’s a good bit of time to go and I feel the excitement out there.”

CNN first reported on Monday that Perry had stopped paying his staffers in key primary states Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. All of the eight South Carolina staffers that attended Thursday night’s event are currently working without pay.

Perry admitted that he’s having problems fundraising right now, pointing to Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush’s deep Texas roots as possibly draining his coffers.

“There’s a lot of people from Texas in the race for one thing,” he said. He did add, though, that since the news broke on Monday, his campaign website has seen one of its best bouts of fundraising yet.

Asked about when he would be able to pay staffers again, however, Perry said he could not provide a specific timeline.