We interrupt your regular blogger to bring you a special message from the editor: So it’s official. As of today, at 1:30 pm EST, Governor Perry is finally a formal candidate for president (though we’ve been convinced he had eyes on the job as far back as February 2010). The question has at long last gone from if/when to how? How will he run? We know he’ll run strong. Perry has never lost a race, something that neither his predecessor, nor the man he hopes will be his ultimate opponent in the 2012 campaign, can say. Most people in Texas would now agree that Perry is an extremely skilled campaigner. But there are 13 people, in particular, who know it in their bones. Who are they? Perry’s 13 vanquished opponents in his ten contested elections. For a feature entitled “The Great Campaigner” in the September issue (available online today), we interviewed these 13 candidates (0r, in a couple reticent cases, their staff) for a candid look at what it’s like to run against (and get beaten by) Governor Perry. It amounts to a fascinating oral history of Perry’s electoral march from unknown Democratic state rep to powerful governor and presidential candidate. The art for this story deserves a little explanation too. It’s a riff on Boris Vallejo’s iconic 1983 movie poster for National Lampoon’s Vacation. The idea to put the governor in this pose had been on our minds since his pasting of Kay Bailey Hutchison in the 2010 Republican primary and his comfortable win over Bill White in the general election that followed. Like most ideas, it hatched and then followed us around for a while until the right time arrived. That time is now. So with apologies to Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Barack Obama, and with condolences to the defeated, here’s the original movie poster, followed by the illustration created for our September issue by artist  Tyler Jacobson. Note the dead coyote and horned toad in the foreground. Details, people, details. (Also, a note to bloggers: Tyler’s illustration can be copied and pasted to your heart’s content.) We now return you to your regular Burkablogger, senior executive editor Paul Burka. -JAKE SILVERSTEIN