UT (nervously) awaits next batch of Perry regents

From a statement by the Texas Exes, the university’s alumni association:

The terms of three distinguished members of The University of Texas System Board of Regents expired this past Friday. These appointments will be made by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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If the new regents are anything like the last group, the appointments could set off another firestorm of criticism of Perry’s governance of the university. Perry’s most recent appointees opposed many of the goals of the university, including its commitment to research. The university has been in turmoil ever since Perry named Gene Powell as regents’ chair, and Powell promptly made statements to the effect that UT doesn’t need to produce a “Cadillac education,” an old-fashioned Chevy Bel Air would be just fine.

Perry and Abbott: deal or no deal?

If so, what is it?

Brad Watson of WFAA-TV in Dallas made big news with his report of a potential deal between Perry and Abbott. From the station’s website:

In an exclusive WFAA interview Wednesday, [Jan. 31] Gov. Rick Perry said Attorney General Greg Abbott has told him he won’t run against him in next year’s GOP primary should the incumbent seek reelection.

 Of course, just a few hours later, the story was updated to include a statement from Abbott’s spokesman, Eric Bearse:

A spokesman for Abbott’s campaign issued a statement saying he wasn’t familiar with any such deal, and called any speculation about the attorney general’s political future “unproductive.” 

“Gov. Perry and Gen. Abbott are close friends, and talk frequently,” wrote Abbott’s spokesman Eric Bearse in the statement. “I am not going to comment on private conversations I am not privy to. General Abbott is focused on taking care of the business of Texas, and political speculation right now is unproductive. The time for politics is after the legislative session.

There is only one scenario that makes sense. Perry has told Abbott that he is not running for a fourth term. There is no deal. Abbott would not defer to Perry when the AG has enough money to win a primary in his campaign account, while Perry’s fundraising has been anemic by comparison. The rest is theater: Perry can save face by saying Abbott promised not to run against him, and Perry can still pretend that he can win another term (which he can’t).

Everybody* Is Pumped for the Sequel of Perry for Prez

It’s official, y’all: Rick Perry’s name can be added to the list of Texans running for President—a list that includes Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Carly Fiorina (plus imminent-announcer Jeb Bush). The former governor made his blindingly obvious intentions to throw his hat and glasses back into the ring explicit this morning, becoming the first candidate also under criminal indictment to declare for 2016. (Though, if Chris Christie gets into the ring, he may not be the last!)

The Meh Primary

With his good hair and new horn-rimmed glasses, Rick Perry woke up this morning hoping Republicans will give him a second chance at making a first impression. Perry has an announcement scheduled at the Addison Airport north of Dallas. He is surrounding himself at the event with so many former Navy SEALs that if he’s not announcing for president, then he’s flying off immediately in a C-130 to stop a Bond villain a la You Only Live Twice — and “Twice is the only way to live.”

I’m betting on a run for president.

Perry told Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News that he is a different man than he was when he entered the last contest in 2011 and then stumbled in a series of debates.

Perry has healed from the back surgery that hampered him through 2012. He has spent two years studying with experts in foreign relations, military preparedness and economics. He has traveled dozens of times to early primary states to establish a beachhead. He has ditched the cowboy boots and added glasses.

“It’s real different from last time,” Perry said in a recent interview. “You know I’m a different candidate than I was 3 1/2 years ago.”

The question before him is whether it’s too late.

In a crowded field of candidates at a time when Americans are disgusted with both major political parties, Perry’s first challenge is to break through the noise just to make the case that he is smarter than the 2011 campaign seemed to proclaim.

Is Rick Perry Running as the Liberal in the GOP Primary Field?

The slate of contenders hoping to be the Republican nominee for President in 2016 is as crowded as it gets. The list of already-announced candidates includes Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio,  while the likely additional candidates include Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Lindsay Graham.

Plus, of course, there’s former Texas governor Rick Perry, who’s been not-so-subtly testing the waters for a second Presidential run for the past two years, with the three portents being his “serious” new glasses, the end of his historic tenure in Austin, and—uh—we get the feeling we’ve made this joke before

The Race Is On!

Texas politicians have never been strangers to presidential ambition. Sam Houston ran for the White House twice, and in the decades that followed he was joined in the losers’ circle by such figures as Governor Edmund Davis and U.S. Speaker of the House John Nance Garner. The first Texan to make it to the White House, of course, was Lyndon Johnson. (Ike doesn’t count.) Perhaps inspired by his example, such figures as Lloyd Bentsen, John Connally, and two different George Bushes have thrown their hats in the ring.

GOP Presidential Candidates are Banking Their Billionaires

The Republican presidential candidates are collecting billionaires like squirrels hoarding nuts for winter. And this cache of cash may keep at least several campaigns politically viable until the Texas GOP presidential primary next March.

The money primary usually is the great winnower of presidential hopefuls. Candidates who come out of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina underfunded simply do not have the money for the stretch run and frequently drop out before Texans vote in March. The advent of super Pacs in 2012 started changing that, with candidates spending a combined $10 million on television ads ahead of the Iowa caucus alone. Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on Iowa television advertising

With the prospect that winning the nomination in 2016 could cost as much as $100 million apiece, the race is on for candidates to win over the billionaires—or as Molly Ivins would have called them, the oligarchs. White House hopefuls like Ted Cruz and Rick Perry are turning to people whose disposable income runs into the millions of dollars.

The billionaire buzz caught fire today with reports that the Koch brothers, Charles and David, were leaning to throwing their financial might behind Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. After listening to Walker speak at an exclusive New York gathering Monday, David Koch declared that Walker could defeat Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in a general election, and Koch called Walker a “tremendous candidate.”  In a statement later Monday, Koch denied that he was endorsing any candidate for president. The Kochs have said they plan to spend $889 million during the 2016 election cycle to promote candidates and their small-government philosophy. If they jump into the GOP nominating process, they could be a game-changer for the candidate they back. Though their fortune comes from Kansas-based Koch Industries, the brothers own refineries, pipelines and chemical technology operations in Texas, as well as Georgia-Pacific and the Matador Cattle Company, which covers 130,000 acres in the Caprock area.  

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