Perry told Bloomberg News that he would announce his decision about whether he would seek a full fourth term as governor by July 1. Why is he holding off on his reelect announcement? Because the office he really wants to run for is president — although his chances are slim and none — and if he commits to governor, the reelect announcement will be anticlimactic. There is nothing to stop him from running for both — George W. Bush did it — but Bush entered the race with widespread support that crossed party and state lines, while Perry (judging from the latest UT/Tribune poll) would enter the race with roughly half of the electorate in Texas viewing him unfavorably. If he wants to run for president as a sitting governor, he must fish or cut bait on his reelection. It is getting very late in the cycle to make a decision, and rumors are circulating that Greg Abbott is about to announce his bid for governor. That Perry hasn’t made his plans known suggests that he won’t run for a fourth term. Otherwise he would be trying to cut off Abbott, and there is no indication that he is doing so.If Perry is serious about running for president again, he is going to have to raise the level of his game. He remains gaffe-prone, the most recent example being his appearance at the Faith and Freedom Conference, where he said he “fears where we’ve come to in America, where our administration won’t make one phone call to save our men and women in an embassy in Lebanon.” (The incident he was referring to occurred in Libya.) A lot of stories leaked out about his lack of preparation for debates in his previous presidential run. The story was that he did his debate prep in the car on the way to debate venues.
How is Perry going to be able to raise the money to run for president? He hasn’t raised a lot of money in Texas in recent reporting cycles — the last time I checked, Texans for Rick Perry had amassed around $6M — and two of his most reliable contributors, Bob Perry and Leo Linbeck Jr., have died. Perry’s term of office runs until January 2015, but it was apparent in the current legislative session that he has little support in the Legislature; another term would not be looked upon fondly by lawmakers. As a sitting governor, he can count on money from the lobby, but that’s not where the big bucks are. The question is, who in the current Texas business and financial establishment is willing to fund a Perry presidential race when the candidate’s weaknesses are so apparent?
AP Photo | Seth Wenig