DES MOINES, Iowa -- Michele Bachmann said Wednesday that she is ending her bid for the Republicans presidential nomination after her dismal finish in Iowa's leadoff precinct caucuses.

"The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, so I decided to stand aside," Bachmann said at an emotional news conference, flanked by her family, hours after the caucus results were announced. "I have no regrets, none whatsoever. We never compromised our principles."

The conservative Minnesota congresswoman's decision, widely expected following her Iowa showing, leaves her supporters up for grabs by the other candidates in the race and could be a boost for Rick Santorum.

Santorum narrowly lost the caucuses to front-runner Mitt Romney and is trying to emerge as the clear conservative alternative to Romney.

Bachmann's decision gives Santorum a clear shot at consolidating the conservative vote heading into the next round of contests, starting Tuesday in New Hampshire, though Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry still draw support from that pool.