Rick Perry has been busy since ending his presidential campaign on January 19: the governor hit the firing range, spoke to Williamson County Republicans, caught a movie, and on Wednesday he’ll attend the Republican presidential debate in Arizona to support his preferred candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
And though he just left the race, Perry is already talking about 2016: ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked the governor if he may run again, and Perry replied, “Absolutely.”
But what about the job that he already has? According to Christy Hoppe of the Dallas Morning News, Perry may as well still be in Iowa for the all the hands-on governing he did from January 19 to February 3. (Editor’s Note: the DMN story is for subscribers only, though there is an Associated Press version.)
Hoppe’s public record search revealed that:
Eleven of those days, no state meetings, phone calls or events were scheduled. Of the remaining five days, he is shown engaged in state business for a total of 10 hours. One day involved taping a message for the El Pasoan of the Year and another was touring a racetrack under construction.
Said racetrack is the Circuit of Americas outside Austin, which the governor checked out February 3. While state treasurer Susan Combs absorbed all of the political punches over the Formula 1 facility’s potential $25 million annual payment from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund, Perry has always been on board.
Hoppe found that on January 23, Perry’s first official day back at the Capitol, he was there from ten in the morning until 12:30 p.m. The next day, he came in at 1:15 p.m. and left at 4:15 p.m. She found no record of any state business for the remainder of that week.
“It’s the same as when he was on the road campaigning; even though he’s not in the office and it’s not indicated on his schedule, he’s still conducting state business,” Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed told the News. “With the technology that we have today, you don’t necessarily have to be in the office to be doing your job.”
Countered Democratic consultant Harold Cook, “This governor always has something better to do than run the state.”