Rick Perry may make public his decision Monday about pursuing an unprecedented fourth term as Texas governor, but if he announces he’s throwing his hat in the ring for president again, it would be one of the earliest launches in history.
Given the modern day, relentless grind of a White House campaign, that seems politically foolish and unlikely.
“No one should be surprised if Gov. Rick Perry doesn’t reveal his next political move as soon as planned,” The Texas Tribune’s Jay Root wrote on Saturday.
The more realistic scenario — if Perry indeed forgoes another gubernatorial race — would be to outline a project that will keep him in the political spotlight through 2014 and set him up for a repeat run. Fundraise and campaign for conservative candidates, travel the country and deliver rollicking speeches that allows him an automatic entry point into the national conversation.
The GOP governor has previously said that his more “expansive plans” will be revealed “later in the year” — so unless he’s running for governor again, Monday’s event may just be a big Texas tease as far as 2016 goes.
As the Associated Press points out, Perry’s own 2013 timetable puts him in the awkward position of announcing his presidential plans just three months prior to the Texas Republican gubernatorial primary. Yet another reason another run for governor doesn’t add up.
CNN’s Peter Hamby reported last week that Perry has made a call to the former chairman of his South Carolina presidential campaign as recent as last month. And Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats told Hamby he fully expects a Perry presidential campaign in 2016.
“That is my intel,” Vander Plaats said. ”He is going to run. I do think there is space for him.”
On Sunday, Perry himself said another presidential bid was “certainly an option out there.”
The only other 2016er who has been as openly forthcoming about his ambitions is Rand Paul.
“He would be a formidable candidate,” Bob Haus, Perry’s 2012 Iowa state chairman told The RUN. ”He has a great story to tell about economic development in Texas and of leadership on key issues such as immigration, tax reform and spending controls. Many of his policy ideas from 2012 have either been adopted or are part of the national discussion.”
But beyond his cadre of loyalists scattered in the early primary states, it remains hard for many to wrap their heads around a successful 2016 Perry bid.
“I don’t honestly think there is much tolerance for another Perry candidacy, I just don’t,” said New Hampshire GOP strategist Mike Dennehy. ”I just think there was too much damage done on that campaign.”
But perhaps simple redemption — rather than outright victory — is the goal. A Perry who instead of stumbles in debate, elevates it by highlighting out how he was ahead on an issue (immigration). A Perry who is able to effectively contrast the toils of Washington with the workings of Austin. A Perry whose substance is as big and brash as his style.
Refurbishing his reputation on the national stage may be what he’s ultimately seeking.
The abomination that was the 2012 run necessitates the 2016 return.
“I’m not so sure he could run a worse campaign,” said Dennehy. “So I think he only has one way to go.”
Drew Grossman, a RUN2016.com contributor, provided reporting for this piece.