Rick Perry Drops Out Of The Race For President
We won't have Rick Perry to kick around anymore.
Rick Perry has become the first candidate to drop out of the race for the Republican Presidential nomination:
Rick Perry, his campaign effectively out of money, has decided to drop out of the presidential race, becoming the first Republican to quit the 2016 contest.
“It takes patience, performance and money and we had two out of the three,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican strategist and adviser to Mr. Perry.
Mr. Perry was expected to withdraw from the race this afternoon at a speech in St. Louis.
“We have a tremendous field – the best in a generation – so I step aside knowing our party is in good hands, and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too,” Mr. Perry planned to say in remarks to the conservative Eagle Forum, according to text sent by his campaign. “I share this news with no regrets. It has been a privilege and an honor to travel this country, to speak with the American people about their hopes and dreams, to see a sense of optimism prevalent despite a season of cynical politics.”
Mr. Perry and his small cadre of advisers had been discussing whether he should drop out of the race in recent weeks. They decided he had no choice because of cash-flow issues, advisers said. He had already stopped paying staff and was uncertain whether he would even have the money to pay the state filing fees required in the coming months to be on the ballot next year, they said.
The decision roiled the Texas donor world on Friday, setting off a race to win the allegiance of Mr. Perry’s wealthiest supporters, who poured more than $17 million into his super PAC even while his campaign struggled to raise traditional contributions. Chart Westcott, a Texas financier who has helped raise money for a super PAC supporting Scott Walker, predicted there would be a “scramble” for Mr. Perry’s backers. “But who knows what their appetite is.”
His decision to withdraw likely means the end of a political career that was remarkable in Texas but lackluster beyond his state’s borders. He was governor for a record 14 years there. But his White House bid in 2012, while initially promising, fizzled after a series of missteps, most memorably when he said “Oops” on a debate stage after failing to recall the names of the Cabinet departments he would eliminate as president. And despite years of policy tutorials leading up to this race, he was unable to gain much traction among Republican voters looking for new blood.
This announcement doesn’t really come as much of a surprise because Perry’s campaign has been on life support for some time now. While he did get a small bump in the polls after he initially announced his candidacy the beginning of June, that bump didn’t last very long at all. Even before Donald Trump entered the race some two weeks after Perry, there were already signs that his campaign was not going to take off. As I noted when he entered the race, Perry had an uphill climb to begin with because of the way that his 2012 campaign crashed and burned thanks largely to his ineffective, bumbling performances in several debates during the fall of 2011. At the beginning of that campaign, Perry’s poll numbers and fundraising hit record levels in a very short period of time. When the debates rolled around, though, his gaffes on immigration, the Gardasil controversy, and his seeming inability to form coherent thoughts took their toll and he quickly dropped to near the bottom of the GOP field, although he nominally stayed in the race until dropping out shortly before the South Carolina primary. In addition to this, Perry entered the race with a criminal indictment for public corruption hanging over his head, and while it wasn’t something that many Republicans seemed to take seriously it certainly was a distraction in the race. By the end of July, Perry had dropped so far down in the polls that he failed to qualify for the main stage at the Fox News Debate on August 6th, and he would have been relegated to the same consolation debate that he was in then for the upcoming CNN debate next Wednesday evening. On top of all of that, a month ago we learned that Perry’s fundraising was drying up and that all of his staff was no longer being paid. More recently, there were reports that his offices in South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire had either been closed completely, or had their staff reduced to a single person. When that was reported, it was clear that the end was near for the Texas Governor.
Perry’s departure is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the race going forward. While he had been polling as high as 4-5% after first jumping in the race, in recent weeks his numbers had tanked so far that his numbers were at or below 1% nationally, as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire. With those kind of numbers, there just aren’t enough Rick Perry supporters out there to go to anything candidate in a way that would have a measurable impact on the race. The most immediate effect of his departure will be that the early debate on Wednesday is now reduced to just four people — Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum. While this may give one of those candidates an opportunity to break out since they will get some larger portion of air time than they would have otherwise, the more likely outcome is that this consolation debate will draw even less attention than it otherwise might have considering that it now features four people polling at or below 1% in the polls. Before long, these four men will likely joining Perry in dropping out of the race.
There aren’t any real lessons to be drawn from Perry’s case and his failure to succeed this time around except, perhaps, the old adage that there are no second acts in American politics. Rick Perry entered the Presidential race in 2011 as the candidate that many on the right thought would be the credible conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in an election where people like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann threatened to turn the race in the circus. For a time, it seemed as though he would fulfill that role at least so some extent, but his own inadequacies as a candidate made that impossible. Perhaps that election, and this one, would have turned out differently if Perry had not been recovering from back surgery, which her later blamed for the fact that he didn’t do well in the debates, but that’s a “What If?” that we’ll never know the answer to. As it is, Perry is gone and in a week or so nobody is really going to miss him.