Rick Perry will not seek reelection, 2016 undecided

Rick PerryBy Jessica Huseman
@JessicaHuseman

On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he would not seek reelection saying, “the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership.” He did not indicate whether he would run for president in 2016, saying announcements about “future considerations” would come “in due time.” 

Perry, 63, has been in office since 2000, when he took George W. Bush’s spot as governor after Bush left the office to become president. Monday’s announcement signifies an end to his record as the state’s longest service governor, and the country’s second-longest serving governor.

His announcement falls in line with the desires of Texas voters. While Perry remains popular among the most conservative of Texans, his popularity as a whole is dropping. A survey released last week by Public Policy Polling showed that only 31 percent of voters thought he should seek reeelection next year, and that 62 percent thought it was time for him to step aside. He is one of the most unpopular governors in the country, according to the poll, with only 41 percent approving of his work as governor at 54 percent disapproving.

The announcement took place in front of hundreds of supporters in San Antonio at the country’s largest Caterpillar equipment dealership. The location was chosen to highlight Perry’s self-given title as “America’s greatest job creation governor,” given the state’s comparatively booming economy and steady job growth.

“I’ve been guided by a simple philosophy, that the best way to fund education and healthcare is through job creation — not higher taxation. Texas works. The jobs prove it, the revenue picture proves it, the people moving here proves it, and it hasn’t happened by accident,” he said.

“Today Texas is better positioned to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st Century,” he said, later calling Texas the “envy of the nation.”

Perry’s departure sets the stage for an almost total turnover of statewide office holders, as most GOP state leaders are retiring or seeking different offices. The favorite to replace Perry is current Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has already set up a campaign staff and is currently sitting on $18 million in his campaign war chest.

“[Abbot] waited probably longer than he ever wanted to,” GOP political consultant Matt Mackowiak told the Texas Tribune in May. “He’s methodically going through all the steps you have to go through to build the kind of organization, to earn the grassroots support, to put in place a fundraising infrastructure to become the leader of the state party.”

On Sunday, Perry was coy about his future plans, telling Fox News Sunday that a run for president in 2016 was possible, saying “Certainly, that’s an option out there.” Monday’s announcement was equally coy on the subject.

Perry continues to be haunted by his horrendously poor performance as a Republican candidate for president last year. In a November 2011 debate, he famously said “oops” after forgetting the third government department he would do away with if elected. He dropped out of the race a few weeks later.

Monday’s announcement comes right after he rehired Mark Miner, his chief spokesman in his 2010 race for re-election and his 2012 race for president, as a “senior advisor.” Miner, 47, is a veteran campaign operative in Texas and was formerly an aid to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. In 2010, Miner was instrumental in helping Perry handily defeat his primary opponent, former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and created the slogan “Kay Bailout” to remind Texans that she had voted for the $700 million Wall Street bailout championed by President Barack Obama.

Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told USA Today that Perry’s announcement will give him an upper hand if he does choose to run for president.

“If he plans to run for president again, he needs to be free of the governor’s office so he can give his full attention to putting together a top-flight campaign team and prepare himself substantively, especially on foreign policy and national security issues,” Jillson said.

While Perry seems poised to run again, Texas Republicans don’t seem to want him to. Last week’s PPP poll indicated that an overwhelming majority (69 percent) do not want Rick Perry to run for president in 2016. Twenty-seven percent of Republicans in the state would prefer Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to run, followed by 15 percent for Jeb Bush, 11 percent for Rand Paul and Chis Christie and 9 percent for Paul Ryan. Perry comes at a distant 6th place at 7 percent, leading only Marco Rubio at 6 percent, Rick Santorum at 4 percent and Bobby Jindal at 3 percent.

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Posted by on July 8, 2013. Filed under Elections,Recent News,Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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