Rick Perry Is Running For President & The Former Texas Governor Joins A Rapidly Growing Field
Don't look now, but yet another challenger has entered the 2016 GOP primary contest, and it's a familiar face from last time around. Early Thursday morning, former Texas Governor (and renowned syrup-lover) Rick Perry announced his 2016 presidential run by posting a video to his official campaign website. Which means, in short, that he'll be back on the national consciousness, just a few years after his disastrous flameout in the 2012 presidential season. He joins nine other Republicans who've made it official so far: Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Santorum.
Incidentally, Perry's entrance means the field is now as big as the maximum number of participants in the first GOP primary debate, hosted by Fox News. Simply put, the jockeying for position is going to start ramping up very soon. Perry, 65, was the longest serving governor in the history of Texas, taking over from outgoing governor and president-elect George W. Bush in 2000, and remaining top dog until 2015 (Texas does not have gubernatorial term limits). His entrance into the race isn't exactly a surprise, considering he's been hinting in this direction for a while, and considering how stacked the Republican field is expected to be. After all, if non-politicians like Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are in, and even former New York governor and virtual no-chancer George Pataki is going to run, why not Perry?
Perry will have less responsibilities besides running for President this time around, since he isn't Texas' governor anymore — that title now belongs to Greg Abbott, who served under Perry as the state's attorney general from 2002 to 2015 — so maybe that'll help tighten things up since last time around. Despite being widely considered a contender and a possible headache for eventual-nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, an infamously woeful debate performance basically torpedoed his campaign's credibility.
Halfway through a confident explanation about which government agencies he'd cut if he were elected President, Perry drew an excruciating blank, unable to remember the third one no matter how he tried. Even Romney tried to toss him a life raft, suggesting the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), but Perry couldn't be saved.
But, who knows? Maybe Perry will be in fresh, fighting form as the primary season gets underway. He does have a slightly different look than he did last time around, embracing a pair of vaguely hipsterish glasses. And it's no secret anymore that he wasn't in great shape back in 2012 — he was recovering from back surgery while on the campaign trail, and a book by veteran political reporters Mike Allen and Evan Thomas released soon after alleged he'd used pain medication to get through the physically taxing debates. Perry strategist Dave Carney ultimately confirmed the back surgery element of the story at a conference in December 2012, according to The Washington Post, although he denied the painkiller allegations.