Will Rick Perry run for re-election as governor of Texas in 2014?
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am on record: I think Perry will run for re-election.
He's got the POTUS bug
After the end of the 2012 presidential run, Perry told staffers on different occasions that "we learned a lot for the next time." It was a pretty firm indication that his plan was to run in 2016. Things change, of course, but immediately after the disastrous 2012 presidential bid, he wasn't planning to fade off into the sunset.
Assume for a minute that he has the presidential bug, and you start to see why it would be necessary to run for governor in 2014. Conventional wisdom has been that you need to run for re-election in order to be seen as a serious candidate. Otherwise you have troubles with fundraising, getting endorsements, and having the press treat you seriously.
The clear and recent exception is Mitt Romney. He quit as Mass governor after one term in 06 to run in 2008 and then again in 2012. But Romney's fundraising was always so strong that it was clear he would be a serious candidate. Just count the networks Romney could tap for easy money: Mormons, Bain consultants, Harvard Law, Harvard MBA, private equity, venture capital, Boston, Olympics, Detroit, etc. On his first day as a presidential candidate early in 2007 he raised a then-astonishing $6.5 million.
It is an open question as to whether Perry could raise the early money (or get the endorsements) for 2016 if he is not residing at 1010 Colorado. Donors are not going to give to a candidate whose last campaign was as disastrous as Perry's 2012 effort. So winning in 2014 -- especially in a tough race -- would re-establish Perry as a winner. Perry 2016 could raise some early money in Texas whether Perry is governor or not. The question is whether there would be the same second wave of fundraising. And Texas donors would have a reason to give perhaps a bit more generously to super PACs.
If he isn't governor, Perry also doesn't get the free media from doing "I'm coming for your jobs" tours in places like Boston and Chicago which might have some media overlap with early primary states. And if the Texas economy keeps booming, then there is someone to share the credit if he doesn't run (on the flip side is the danger that our economy tanks).
Perry thinks he can win in 2014
Assume Perry runs. Who can beat him? Probably only Attorney General Abbott, who might not run. When Perry said publicly that AG Abbott would not run against him, the governor was only repeating publicly what he has said privately. For years Perry folks have said that Abbott wouldn't run against the guv.
Abbott has waited in line for a long time. Does he want to risk it now to run against a friend? Especially if Perry announces right after the session that he is running for re-election? He has the money, but if he uses it now it might be tough to get it in 4 years. It is a risk, and the only example we really have to guide us is 2002 -- where he left the LG race to run for AG. And Abbott could very likely be LG in 2014 if he wants to be.
Perhaps there is a dark horse that would run against Perry if Abbott doesn't. I doubt that keeps Perry up at night though -- and it looks like George P. Bush has taken himself out of the running by saying he is running for a different job.
Perry is just avoiding lameduck status
I just don't see it. If you go back through this dance over the years, he has been pretty candid about his future plans, including the presidential bid. During that time, the conventional wisdom was usually that he was retiring...and it was wrong. I tend to take his statements at face value -- he hasn't absolutely decided whether to run.
Also, if he were not running for re-election, why would Governor Perry call state Rep Lyle Larson in for an hour-long talking-to to warn him against pushing his gubernatorial term limits bill?
Loves being governor, enjoys the campaign trail
All indications are that Rick Perry really loves being governor of Texas. It is not as time-intensive as in other states. Since he is doubledipping on state salaries, he is getting paid pretty well and has no expenses. He also appears to really enjoy the campaign trail. And why wouldn't he? He is good on the trail and until the 2012 bid he enjoyed unrivaled success.
Look, I might be all wrong and Perry really has decided to retire from politics to go make money in the private sector. Maybe he and Abbott have already decided on a schedule for that announcement that maximizes Abbott's chances at victory. But from what I see, I would bet Perry is running for re-election.
I don't always vote. But when I do, it's for Tom Pauken.
Andy, Pauken did so BADLY in the 1998 GOP primary for Texas State Attorney General, that he didn't even make it to the runoff.
With that said, I'm sticking by my guns and say Perry will NOT run again in 2014.
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