Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is the first presidential candidate to drop out of the 2016 race.
July 2013 probably seems like eons ago for Rick Perry.
That’s whenTime ran a story by Zeke J. Miller that led with the line: “It looks like everything is aligned for Rick Perry to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.”
The story portrayed Perry, the longest-serving governor of Texas, as someone in the right place at the right time to win the 2016 GOP nomination for president. Miller wasn’t the only one to think that — surely Perry did as well.
For months leading up to his June 4 announcement that he’d run for president, he studied up on policy positions, flying experts into Texas to prep for the campaign trail. He primed his vast network of backers, trying to open up pipelines for the massive amounts of cash that a run for the White House takes.
But in the end, it amounted to nothing. The preparation, the prognostication, the square-framed glasses and the custom hick-hop theme music were all for naught. Perry announced today that he would suspend his campaign, effectively cutting short his second run for the presidency.
Perry has the displeasure of being the first member of the field to drop out. His campaign could never muster the steam that his 2012 effort did, when he was considered the chief rival of eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney for a short period.
Instead, his efforts this summer have amounted to little more than one indignity after another. He was relegated to the kids’ table for the first round of GOP debates. By August, he could no longer pay his campaign staff. CNN has predicted for months that he would be the first candidate to drop out of the race.
Perry’s early strategy was to take on Donald Trump, calling him a “cancer on conservatism.” It was a good idea — as Trump’s star rose, he was an easy and prominent target to take shots at. No one could have predicted Trump as the reincarnation of Teflon Don.
But the strategy bombed. Perry got his ass kicked, never sniffing double digits in the polls while Trump surged to the top of the GOP leaderboard, mocking the former Texas governor on the way.
“One of the things that I'm most honored about is that so far everybody who’s attacked me has gone down the tubes,” Trump said in a press conference last week. “You had Perry attacking me, now he’s getting out of the race.”
So for Perry, it’s back to Texas, where he still faces a felony indictment over an alleged abuse of power in 2013. The charge stems from his threat to veto funds from the Public Accountability Office if its leader, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, did not step down after a drunken driving arrest.
The courtroom battle will keep Perry in the papers. So while this isn’t the end of his time in the public eye, it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever hold elected office again. For that, we bid him the sign-off that he immortalized: “Adios, mofo.”