Texas governor Rick Perry to announce his presidential intentions

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Governor Rick Perry in June 2011
Image: Gage Skidmore.

According to aides, longtime Texas Governor Rick Perry will announce his intentions to run for President of United States this Saturday in South Carolina after a tour of three early Republican primary and caucus states. His announcement will follow Saturday's nonbinding Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, for which he is not on the ballot.

Perry has served as Governor of Texas since late 2000 when former President George W. Bush stepped down from the office after his victory in the 2000 presidential election. Perry won election as governor in his own right in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006. After a primary challenge from U.S. Senator and fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry was elected to an unprecedented third term in 2010. His executive experience and record of job-creation has been hailed by supporters, though he has been criticized for his cuts to education and 2009 suggestion that Texas could lawfully secede from the Union.

Speculation about a potential run heightened after Perry organized and attended a Christian prayer gathering in Houston last week, which was seen as outreach to the religious right. Perry has support from members of the populist Tea Party movement, and is known for his call for states' rights, which he outlined in his 2010 book Fed Up. His position on states' rights has caused concerns for some social conservatives such as presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who criticized Perry after his comments that the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York was "their business, and that’s fine with me". Perry later clarified that he was referring to "state sovereignty" and that he personally opposes same-sex marriage.

Perry will join a growing list of Republican candidates for the presidency that includes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, businessman Herman Cain of Georgia and fellow Texan Republican Rep. Ron Paul.

Romney, the current frontrunner for the nomination seems vulnerable to political analysts. Commentator John Fund described him as "weak" and Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report found that while Romney is favored by the party establishment, Perry will likely find more support among the party base, "In terms of ideology, style, priorities and geographical appeal, Perry and Romney are very different candidates, and they appeal to very different constituents."

Blogger Erick Erickson of RedState, who will headline the website's gathering where Perry is expected to make his announcement, commented "the race is shaping up as who can beat Barack Obama and who is the best alternative to Mitt Romney. And none of the candidates so far has been able to consolidate those two goals like I think Perry will try to do."