Adios, Perry Campaign

Perry exits the 2016 presidential race to little surprise from onlookers

Photo by Jana Birchum

"Adios, mofo." With those infamous words in 2005, then-governor Rick Perry said a less than polite goodbye to ABC-13's Ted Oberg. It was with less profanity that he accepted the inevitable last week, and bowed out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary. The formal statement came Sept. 11 at an Eagle Forum event in St. Louis. Stating that "some things have become clear," Perry declared that he's suspending all campaigning.

His departure was less than shocking; this election cycle has seen Republican primary voters reject anyone with political experience in favor of grandstanding newcomers like Donald Trump and Ben Carson. With the remaining establishment GOP vote split between a dozen current and former senators and governors, Perry sank lower and lower in the polls. He had failed to make the cut for the first presidential debate, held by Fox in August, then last week CNN announced that he would not be invited to this week's second debate.

The reasons for his collapse will be argued for years to come, but he could never shake off the shadow of his dismal performance in 2012, when his infamous "oops!" line made him a national joke. Yet his GOP rivals have been kind. Sen. Marco Rubio praised his military and political service, while even Trump (who previously questioned his intelligence) called him "a terrific guy." By contrast, Texas Demo­crat­ic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa called him divisive, and savaged "the culture of corruption that Rick Perry established."

So now Perry walks away from the stump, but what of his remaining campaign machine? He had already lost several high-ranking staffers from defection, or simply because his functionally bankrupt campaign could no longer cover paychecks. However, there's still roughly $13 million in the coffers of the three Perry-boosting Super PACs working under the Opportunity and Freedom banner. Theoretically, the groups can get behind another candidate, but they soon may have less money to spend. One of the coalition's biggest donors is Dallas-based tech billionaire Darwin Deason, and his son Doug recently told that his father expects the $5 million he gave the Super PACs to be returned.

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Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Republican primary, 2016 presidential race

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