U.S. media report New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is dropping out of the U.S. presidential race after finishing fourth place in two recent Democratic contests.

Richardson is expected to make his announcement Thursday, at 1900 UTC.  Campaign sources said Wednesday Richardson ended his bid after winning only five percent of the vote in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.  He won two percent support in last week's Iowa Democratic caucus.

Richardson had served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary in the Clinton administration.  He was also the only Hispanic candidate in this presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, U.S. media report Senator John Kerry, who was the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee, will endorse Senator Barack Obama.

Sources close to Kerry say he plans to announce his decision Thursday.  Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who is also running for president, was Kerry's running mate in 2004.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney, who came in second to Senator John McCain in the New Hampshire primary, is hoping to do better in the contest next week in Michigan, where Romney's father had served as governor.

Candidates have fanned out to various parts of the country, aiming to build momentum as the state-by-state race leads up to February 5, known as Super Tuesday, when more than 20 states hold polls.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.