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 Politico.com that his father expects the $5 million he gave the Super PACs to be returned.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Rick Perry
Perry and Paxton Fight the Law
Perry and Paxton Fight the Law
Perry indictment down to one count; grand jury convenes in Paxton case

Richard Whittaker, July 31, 2015

Texas-Tied GOP Candidates Race for Debate Spot
Texas-Tied GOP Candidates Race for Debate Spot
Will Cruz, Perry, Fiorina make the cut?

Richard Whittaker, July 17, 2015

More Marco Rubio
'Tis the Filing Season
'Tis the Filing Season
Candidates for your Travis County ballot

Chase Hoffberger, Dec. 18, 2015

Presidential Candidates File in Texas
Presidential Candidates File in Texas
Clinton and Judd only Dems to file for president in Texas so far

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 4, 2015

More by Richard Whittaker
Kathy Bates, Marc Maron, and More Confirmed for Texas Film Hall of Fame Ceremony
Kathy Bates, Marc Maron, and More Confirmed for Texas Film Hall of Fame Ceremony
We know the winners, now who'll be running the show?

Feb. 14, 2019

How Robert Rodriguez Saved <i>Alita: Battle Angel</i> From the Scrap Heap
How Robert Rodriguez Saved Alita: Battle Angel From the Scrap Heap
After a decade and a half, the legendary manga's battle dreams are made real

Feb. 15, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle