Goodbye, Rick: Perry Out of Presidential Race

Former Texas governor first declared candidate to drop out

Adios … governor. Rick Perry is officially the first candidate to drop out of the GOP 2016 presidential primary. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Stick a fork in him, he's officially done. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has suspended his campaign to become the next GOP nominee for the United States presidency. I hate to tell you we told you so but … we told you so.

Over a month ago (see "Perry's Last Gasp", Aug. 12), after Perry failed to make the Fox GOP presidential debate, and his campaign announced dismal fundraising figures, I wrote, "Is Perry politically dead after all of this? Maybe not. But he's definitely flatlining, and the line to deliver electoral CPR seems pretty short."

It was the same story on Aug. 28 when his Iowa director of operations quit, and a week later when his Iowa co-chairs and New Hampshire political director walked away.

All the while, there were desperate attempts (some of them in the Texas media) to frame him as the potential comeback kid. For example, while headlines the day after the Fox debate concentrated on Donald Trump as the winner of the main debate, and Carly Fiorina taking the pre-show on points, there were still efforts to boost the long, lingering death of the man stuck on 1% (and that was in polls with a 3% margin of error).

A broke campaign, statistically zero support: It couldn't be long until he finally conceded. And so the formal moment came yesterday in a speech to the Eagle Forum in St. Louis, Miss. In a long, rambling speech about international instability, socialism, and Margaret Thatcher, Perry kept looping around to his faith, and how he had given his life to Jesus. That's when the other shoe finally dropped. He said, "I submit that His will remains a mystery, but some things have become clear. That is why today I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States.

The final nail seemed to be the announcement by CNN that Perry wasn't polling well enough to make its next prime-time debate. But with the other nails already snug in his political coffin, this was a concession of the inevitable.

There were kind words from his Republican opponents, with even fearless bloviator Trump calling him "a terrific guy and I wish him well - I know he will have a great future!" (a far gasp from when he blamed America's immigration issues on Perry, and said he should be forced to take an IQ test before being admitted to the debates.)

Florida Senator Marco Rubio was even kinder, praising Perry's religious commitment and military service, before saying "I have no doubt that his service to our nation is not over."

However, Perry's political future is probably of minimal national concern at the moment. With Trump, Fiorina, and Ben Carson showing how much of the GOP primary base is unwilling to back any candidate with any political experience, the remaining establishment challengers are almost undoubtedly eyeing the dead weight in the loaded primary (now down to 15), and wondering who will drop out, how many votes they free up, and – most importantly – how many big-dollar backers will suddenly be looking for someone to throw money behind?

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