One year ago today, Rick Perry stood behind a wooden podium at the annual Red State Gathering in South Carolina and announced he was seeking the presidency. “It is time to get America working again. And that’s why, with the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today as a candidate for President of the United States,” Perry said.
And 159 days and many “oops” moments later, Perry returned to the Palmetto state and shuttered his campaign.
“I began this race with a sense of calling. I felt led into this arena to fight for the future of this country. And I feel no different today than I did then, knowing a calling never guarantees a particular outcome, but the journey that tests one’s faith and one’s character,” Perry said. “So now the journey leads me back to Texas, neither discouraged nor disenchanted, but instead rewarded highly by the experience and resolute to remain in the arena and in the service of my country. … I have just begun to fight.”
(Were you hoping someone would make a interactive widget to allow you to relive all 159 days of Perry’s botched presidential bid? The Texas Tribune has you covered.)
So how has Perry fared since coming home? Well, a January poll of Texans showed that Perry’s favorable rating in the state dipped to forty percent. (Perhaps even more damning was that in the same poll, Barack Obama received a 43 percent favorable rating.)
Perry’s star fell even further after he threw his weight behind Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s failed bid for the GOP Senate nomination.
A few days ahead of that vote, TEXAS MONTHLY’s Paul Burka declared that Perry is the “big loser” in the race.
He went all-in for Dewhurst, even lending him his own campaign organization. In effect, the Perry team portrayed Dewhurst as Perry’s alter ego. That was doomed to fail. In promoting Perry, the Dewhurst campaign diminished their own candidate.
What happens to Perry now? I think his political career may be over. The party he led is split, and the faction whose candidate he opposed appears to be winning the race. Perry’s ego is so huge that he thought he could get Dewhurst elected simply by endorsing him. How can he run for another term as governor (which he clearly wants to do) when he supported an establishment candidate against the tea party’s darling? … Everything is wide open now.
Rice University political scientist Mark Jones was of the same mind, telling the Washington Post‘s Aaron Blake that “Perry’s support for Dewhurst cost him some support among grassroots activists, and Dewhurst’s loss signals that Perry’s political capital is clearly not what it was before he began his presidential run in 2011.”
Rick Perry has since turned to supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket, returning to his old Iowa stumping grounds over the weekend. “Did you miss me?” he told the Des Moines Register. “It’s Déjà vu.”
What was on Perry’s Iowa itinerary? According to the Hill, he visited the Iowa State Fair, where he planned to “greet voters at the Iowa Republican Party booth and visit the traditional Butter Cow.” He also spoke at the Family Leadership Summit.
Perry’s Texan bravado was on full display at the fair, according to the Dallas Morning News’s Wayne Slater. “While at the fair, Perry was asked by a local reporter how it compared with the Texas State Fair. ‘The Texas State Fair is bigger.’ The reporter asked how it was bigger. ‘Square footage, people, it lasts longer,’ Perry said. Then, as if recognizing the Texas reputation for bragging, Perry added: ‘But this is a great state fair.'”