A world without Rick Perry as governor of Texas is about to descend on the state.
A good many Texans won’t know how to act, what to feel or say.
To acknowledge that Rick Perry has made an impact on Texas government is to commit the Mother of All Understatements. He’s been governor of the state far longer than anyone else has ever served; it’ll be 14 years and one month in office when he walks away in January 2015.
Perry announced Monday that he won’t seek a fourth full four-year term. He leaves the field open to the now-presumptive favorite, Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s already been raising tons of campaign money anticipating Perry’s big announcement. Another Republican, former Texas GOP chairman and former chair of the Texas Workforce Commission Tom Pauken is running for governor; Pauken, by the way, has extensive commercial real estate interests in Amarillo and has been a frequent visitor to the city in recent years checking on some of his downtown business affairs.
Perry did not reveal today whether he plans to run once again for president in 2016. His first attempt at securing the Republican nomination didn’t end well for him. He quit the race in January 2012 after a series of stumbles, gaffes and other assorted embarrassing moments in the spotlight.
Were he to run again for president, it’s a good bet he’ll be much better prepared for a national campaign than he was the first time. Perry will need to be, as the GOP field already is shaping up as a fairly competitive collection of politicians.
Perry’s gubernatorial legacy is huge, for better or worse. If you’re a conservative Republican, he’s being seen as a huge champion for the rights of individuals against an intrusive government. If you’re a liberal Democrat, he’s being seen as an obstacle to government lending a hand where it is needed the most. His appointments populate virtually every state board and commission in the state.
The governor says he plans to remain engaged for the remainder of his time in office. He’s called the Legislature into its second special session. More fireworks await as lawmakers seek to approve an anti-abortion bill that’s drawn the ire of women’s groups who no doubt will be on hand in Austin to shout it down once again.
Say this for Gov. Perry: He’s going out with a bang and not a whimper.