Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to announce his bid for the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States on Thursday from Dallas.
Perry, whose 2012 bid went down in flames following a momentary memory lapse during a Presidential candidate’s debate in Michegan, November 2011, when he seemed to forget the third of three Federal Agencies he planned to close if he were elected. Unforgiving GOP voters immediately erased Perry from the list of likely candidates. But, in spite of his gaffe, Perry has an impressive resume as a phenomenally successful leader who made his state an economic force to be reckoned with. Perry is banking on that record to pave his way to the White House.
Perry spent 14 years as Texas’ governor. He left office in January. During his record tenure there, Perry’s state generated more than one-third of the new private-sector jobs in America since 2001.
An oil and gas boom was responsible for much of that economic growth, but Perry credits his policy of lower taxes, minimal regulation, and limits to civil litigation damages for Texas’ remarkably healthy economic climate. Perry, while Governor, made no secret of his frequent visits to states with Democratic governors in order to seduce industry giants to his own state with promises of economic incentives.
Since his failed bid in 2012, Perry has made a point of boning up on what was considered to be his short-suit, foreign policy. Perry also traveled extensively overseas and studied policy with experts and economists at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He has also met with business titans including Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch in order to bolster his “economic cred.”
The biggest cloud on Perry’s presidential horizon may be his alleged abuses of power. In April of 2014, Perry was indicted by a Texas Grand Jury on two felony counts charging that he abused his power the previous year when he is said to have pressured an Austin district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat who oversees a powerful public corruption unit, to step down following a drunken driving conviction. Unless she resigned, Perry threatened to cut off state financing to her office, then followed through, using his veto power to withhold $7.6 million dollars from her operation.
Perry calls the abuse of power and coercion charges a political “witch hunt,” but his repeated efforts to get it tossed out of court on constitutional grounds have so far proven fruitless. The charge of abuse of official power carries a prison sentence of five to 99 years, and the second charge of coercion of a public servant, a two- to 10-year prison sentence which could hinder his ability to govern the Nation should he be successful in this, his second bid for the office.
In the past, Perry has proven to be a champion fundraiser. During his 2012 run, he garnered $18 million in the first six weeks of his campaign. As a former Republican Governor’s Association chairman, Perry has strong donor contacts nationwide, but his criminal indictments could cause understandable angst among donors.
But according to Ford O’Connell, the GOP strategist, the 2016 field is “extremely talented and deep” compared to four years ago. “For him (Perry) to win the nomination, he’s going to have to be great, but a lot of people are going to have to trip and fall along the way.”