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Former Gov. Perry To Announce His Second White House Campaign

Office of the Governor
Gov. Rick Perry will make his second bid to be President.

When the state’s longest serving governor announces his second presidential run Thursday, he is going to be surrounded by a star-studded group his campaign calls “patriots.”

At the Addison Airport just north of Dallas, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 65, will be flanked by decorated soldiers, including former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, who wrote the book, Lone Survivor. Taya Kyle, the widow of the celebrated military sniper and author, Chris Kyle, will also be there.

In a growing field of more than a dozen Republican presidential candidates, Perry will try to remind voters he served six years in the Air Force during the Vietnam era. 

Political Science Prof. Cal Jillson, from Southern Methodist University, thinks that message is a stretch for Perry. “He’s one of the few Republican candidates, other than Lindsey Graham, who has military service, but it was a very long time ago,” says Jillson. Jillson says Perry’s stronger message will be that he presided over the State of Texas during an economic boom that, on his watch, created more jobs in Texas than any other state.

Perry’s biggest challenges? Getting voters to ignore an abuse of power criminal indictment he still faces, and getting them to forget the miserable campaign he waged in 2012. “His very famous oops moment really solidified people’s sense that he was not up for being president of the United States or being a credible candidate. So any slip he makes in the new campaign will draw all those memories of 2012 back,” says Jillson.

Perry will be battling other Republicans with ties to Texas, direct and indirect, for the support and money he needs from his home state: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz; U.S. Sen. Rand Paul; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Jillson says the first hurdle Perry needs to cross is to be among the 10 top-polling candidates who will be invited to the first televised Republican presidential debate in August. If he doesn’t make that cut, Jillson says Perry’s second uphill presidential campaign will be over before it really began.

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.