He’s a wily showman. Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday he would not seek re-election in an event that was more campaign appearance than sentimental farewell. Mr. Perry left both press and public with a Lone Star-sized cliffhanger, as he stood surrounded by his wife and daughters, who wore campaign-appropriate red and white dresses, Mr. Perry did not reveal whether he planned a repeat run for the White House, but the pundits, pollsters and oddsmakers await his decision.
Will the public forget and forgive his unintentionally comedic gaffes on the 2012 campaign trail and instead recall his record of bringing jobs to Texas and his support for traditional values and the pro-life cause? Insiders suggest Mr. Perry simply needs to re-boot his image during his next two years as governor with hard work and measurable results.
The White House is “obviously on his mind,” a former Perry staffer told CNN, while another proclaimed, “The sky’s the limit.” Still another observer declared that while a Perry victory in 2016 was improbable, it was not “impossible”.
Statisticians already have tabulated his spot in the political pantheon, however.
“He now lays claim to one of the longest gubernatorial tenures in the history of the country,” says Eric Ostermeier, director of the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog.
“The governor will end up in the No. 10 slot for all time, presuming he completes his term as expected on January 20th, 2015. At that point, Perry will have tallied 5,144 days in office. Fourteen years, one month,” Mr. Ostermeier notes.
Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad currently leads the tenure list with 6,754 days, or well over 18 years in office. Mr. Ostermeier advises that only “post-U.S. Constitutional gubernatorial tenures” were studied for the report.
Meanwhile, a recent Public Policy Polling survey of Texas voters finds evidence of Perry fatigue: If the presidential election were held today, 27 percent would vote for Sen. Ted Cruz while only 7 percent would opt for Mr. Perry at this point. Mr. Cruz is most chivalrous and canny, meanwhile.
“Many thanks to Gov. Perry for your leadership and for helping make Texas the envy of the nation,” the senator tweeted following Mr. Perry’s non-announcement.