Like so many memorable moments in American life, it all began with a cryptic tweet.
— Anita Perry (@AnitaPerryTX) May 15, 2015
The link in Anita Perry’s message directed the user to an invitation to an event hosted by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s political action committee, RickPAC, in Dallas on June 4. All it foreshadowed was that there would be a “special announcement” made on that date.
“America is facing a time of testing, and it’s clear that we need principled leadership and an optimistic vision to see us through after eight years of the Obama Administration,” Perry wrote in an email to supporters. “Rick and I have been talking a lot about what the future holds for our great country, and the role our family can play in creating an America of unlimited opportunity for our children and grandchildren. We are so excited to share our decision with you, and hope you will join us on June 4th in Dallas for a major announcement!”
It wasn’t long before that “special announcement” was revealed as the likely unveiling of Rick Perry’s second presidential bid.
Perry entered the 2012 race with a lot of fanfare, and he initially rose to the top of the pack of candidates shortly after his announcement. “This time, he’ll have to take on the field as a significant underdog,” The Hill reported.
Perry currently sits in ninth place in national polling, according to a Real Clear Politics analysis of recent figures, and hasn’t sniffed more than four percent of the vote in any recent polling from Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
But Perry has been barnstorming the early primary and caucus states since he left the governor’s mansion early this year, heralding his economic record as head of the state that had created the most jobs in the country last year.
As I noted in early January, however, Perry is well positioned to enjoy a renaissance given his record and the work he has done in the years that elapsed since 2011 rebranding himself a serious policy maven with an admirable history in government.
Perry is still best positioned of nearly every prospective 2016 candidate to brand himself as strong on the issue that is foremost on the minds of most voters: Jobs and the economic recovery. The Texas economy is the envy of every state in the Union. What’s more, the issue of immigration has taken on new importance for Republican primary voters in the wake of a border crisis in 2014 and continued efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to reform the nation’s immigration system. Perry has served on the frontlines of the fight against illegal immigration for over a decade.
What’s more, Perry may be able to leverage what is almost certain to be a significant amount of press attention on his politically-inspired indictment at the hands of a scorned Texas-based district attorney. Nothing rallies conservatives to a candidate’s side like the impression that they are facing undue scrutiny or persecution from the political press.
Though Perry faces a tougher field of candidates than he did in 2011-2012, he is also a stronger candidate than he was four years ago.