Rick Perry To Enter Presidential Race On June 4th
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is going to be looking for that elusive second act in American politics.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who entered the 2012 Presidential race rather late but nonetheless quickly jumped to the top of the polls only to see his fortunes come crashing down thanks in no small part to his disastrous debate performances, will be announcing his second run for the White House on June 4th:
Former Gov. Rick Perry has chosen Dallas to officially declare his second run for the Republican presidential nomination in three weeks.
For months Perry has said that he would announce his decision in May or June. But his constant travel to the early contest states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida has left little doubt of his intentions.
Perry joins a burgeoning field of contenders, including fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz.
Unlike four years ago, when he rushed into the contest after seeing he could raise quick money and was leading in polls, Perry enters this contest as an underdog.
He is polling in single digits, but again unlike his last run, he has spent more than a year in preparation. He has consulted weekly with conservative experts on foreign relations and economic policy. He has assembled advisers and campaign teams in the early states and has even taken tutoring in public speaking.
He has frequently acknowledged mistakes in his last run – entering while still ailing from recent back surgery and being under-prepared for the rigors and questions on the campaign trail.
In the 2016 contest, he will begin from behind, not only trying to push his message through the similar-sounding policies advanced by a large pack of candidates, but he also must erase memories of his previous debate flops and campaign stumbles.
Perry has been stressing that he is the only GOP candidate – save for potential rival South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham – who has served in the military.
He also has touted his executive experience as Texas governor for 14 years. But he has competition with that credential from top-tier contenders Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
He will also mostly certainly stress his economic record in Texas, which has led the nation in job creation. He underscores lawsuit limits, minimum regulations on businesses and low taxes for firing the state’s economic engine, which has sputtered in recent months with the plunge in oil prices.
Technically, of course, Perry hasn’t yet officially said that he’s running for President, but as with previous cases, you don’t announce an event such as the one that Perry has announced if you’re going to announce that you’re not running for President. That’s what press releases or YouTube videos are for. So, while most media outlets are simply reporting that Perry will announce his Presidential intentions on June 4th, we can all safely assume that he is in fact running.
Perry will enter the 2016 race in far different position than he was in during the late summer of 2011 when he reversed his previous decision to stay out of the race and announced his candidacy at an event in South Carolina being held the same day as the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. Back then, even just the anticipation of Perry as a candidate had his numbers rising in the polls and, when he announced, he quickly jumped to the top of the polls. More importantly, his fundraising in that first month or so that he was in the race was among some of the most impressive we’ve ever seen from any primary candidate. All of that, however, happened before the round of debates that began in mid-September and continued through November, during which Perry found himself getting attacked over his positions on immigration and even vaccination. Worse than that, though, were the personal flubs such as when he called those who disagreed with his position on immigration reform heartless and when he couldn’t name the three Federal agencies his own proposed budget plan would eliminate. By November, Perry’s star had collapsed and his candidacy was effectively dead.
The memory of that bad 2012 campaign seems to be fresh in the mind of Republican voters at this point in the 2016 cycle. Whether it’s in the national polling, or in state polling in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, Perry is averaging no higher than 3.0%, putting down at the bottom of the pack with candidates such as Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie. The only state where he does slightly better than that is South Carolina where he’s averaging 4.7% in the polls, but even then he’s still at the bottom of the Republican field. For any candidate, these are bad numbers not the least because it makes it less likely that they’ll be able to get fundraising support and also likely makes it harder to hire top-level staffers, because few people want to work on a campaign that has little chance of winning, In Perry’s case, it’s doubly difficult because he’s arguably already had his chance on the national stage and failed miserably. As I’ve noted before, the question will be whether he’s able to put all of that behind him and essentially give himself a second act. Given the fact that he’ll be trying to do so on a campaign stage with a large number of other candidates, many of whom are arguably equally as qualified as he is, it seems as though it’s going to be a difficult task.
Perry’s task is likely to be made more difficult by the fact that he has a criminal indictment for public corruption hanging over his head that is likely to go to trial while he’s trying to convince Republican voters to support him. That case, you may recall, involves a political dispute between Perry and the woman serving as chief prosecutor in Austin at the time he was Governor. Because of her location, her office was responsible for investigating allegations between state agencies and state officials and had often been a thorn in the side of the Perry Administration. After the prosecutor was arrested on a DUI charge, Perry said that he would not sign the bill funding her office unless she resigned. The indictment essentially alleges that Perry improperly used his veto power against the prosecutor, which is an odd charge in itself since the Texas Constitution gives the Governor an unlimited veto power. Legal scholars on both sides of the aisle have argued that the indictment is legally insufficient, but despite that the Judge presiding over the case has denied several attempts by Perry’s attorneys to dismiss the case, most recently in January. The next step in the proceedings would be the matter to go to trial and, even if Perry is ultimately acquitted as many expect him to be, it’s going to be next to impossible to spin that into something positive for the campaign.
Is it possible that Rick Perry could get that second act he’s looking for? If everything goes right for him, then yes it’s possible. It’s just not very likely.