Poaching companies is nothing new. States have been bad-mouthing and out-bidding each other for decades in the hopes of luring more business, often with little to show for it. But according to Greg Leroy, the executive director of Good Jobs First, a D.C.-based non-profit devoted to exposing what it considers the folly of government subsidies often given in the name of attracting companies, Perry’s campaign stands on its own. “I’ve been covering this for 30 years and there’s no precedent for what he’s doing,” says Leroy. “Nobody’s been as aggressive. Nobody’s done it as personally. He’s really taking it to a new low.”…

In Illinois, his ads highlighted Texas’s lack of a state income tax. In Connecticut, six months after the shootings at Newtown claimed the lives of 25 elementary school students and their teachers, Perry told the president and CEO of Colt Manufacturing, which is based in West Hartford, that his company “would always be welcome in Texas.” The governor made a similar pitch to Beretta in Maryland. And in Missouri he told a room full of Republican legislators to override Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s recent veto of a bill to lower taxes.

Perry’s visits have also doubled as a dare to the governors he’s attacking: Hey, want some free press? Though in private Democratic leaders have asked the office-holders not to take Perry’s bait, some of them have been unable to resist. And the degree to which they’ve engaged has depended on their own political aspirations. California Gov. Jerry Brown, who, at age 76, is unlikely to move on to a higher office, categorized Perry’s first attempts at advertising in his state as “not even a burp; it’s barely a fart.” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, however, figured by some to be a 2016 candidate, eagerly offered more than a scatalogical soundbite when he agreed to debate Perry on CNN’s “Crossfire.” (Let’s call it a draw.)