Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said a judge’s declining to dismiss an abuse-of-power case over actions he took as governor isn’t going to affect his timetable on making a decision on a 2016 run for president.
“We’re moving right along as we have intended to, and we’ll make a decision — or, actually, make an announcement is a better descriptive term — in the May/June timetable just like we had intended to before this,” Mr. Perry, flanked by his legal team, said at a news conference Wednesday.
A judge refused Tuesday to dismiss a case brought against Mr. Perry that he abused his position as governor when he followed through on a threat to veto funding for a public integrity unit in the office of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg if she did not resign in the wake of a drunken driving conviction in 2013.
“What I hear overwhelmingly from folks out there is great support for standing up for the constitution,” said Mr. Perry, fresh off trips to the early presidential states of Iowa and South Carolina. “Americans are looking for a leader… standing up for the rule of law and standing up for the United States Constitution’s a good thing, and the people across this country are very supportive of that.”
Mr. Perry said the ruling didn’t change the “fundamental argument” he’s made from day one that “a governor has a constitutional right to exercise line-item veto authority” in the state.
“Under our constitution, every citizen has the right to speak their mind freely without political interference or legal intimidation,” he said. “This continued prosecution flies in the face of that protection and it directly assaults the United States Constitution.”
Mr. Perry said given the choice, he’d make the same decision today.
“I’ll continue this fight and I’m confident that I’ll ultimately prevail because the prosecution’s case amounts to the criminalization of politics and it would impose a chilling effect on free speech,” he said.
Mr. Perry’s legal team said they are appealing.