Remains open to 2016 presidential run.7:00 AM, Mar 5, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Rick Perry is in a good mood, and it’s not just because it’s his 64th birthday. Tuesday is primary day in Texas, and for the first time in what seems like forever, his name’s not on the ballot. The office he’s made his own—with paintings of the Texas landscapes and framed photos of recent war heroes from Texas—for the last 13 years will belong to someone else next January. But Perry doesn’t sound wistful in the twilight of his term.
“Knowing when to leave is a real gift,” he says. First elected lieutenant governor in 1998, Perry became governor on December 21, 2000, after George W. Bush resigned to prepare for his presidential inauguration. He won his first full term in 2002, and won reelection 2006 and 2010, winning by double-digit margins each time. But Perry decided last year not to seek a fourth full term, giving Texas its first open gubernatorial seat in 24 years.
“I’m comfortable that we’re leaving at an appropriate time,” he says. “I still think I’ve got a passion for what I do. I’ve got 11 months left. I’ve got a deal that I’m working on. I got lots of deals that we’re going to be working on.”
Those "deals" Perry refers to are attempts to woo companies to relocate or expand in Texas, a major component of his economic development scheme. As Fred Barnes reported for THE WEEKLY STANDARD last year, Perry’s recovered from his self-admitted “humbling” presidential campaign by running another campaign—this one on selling Texas’s low-taxes, low-regulation, business-friendly regime as a prescription for the nation’s economic ailments. It may also be the basis for a second presidential run in 2016, to which Perry remains open. ("If I decide to be a candidate in the future" is how he discusses it.)
But as governor, his legacy in Texas may be that as a faithful and vigorous steward of the state's economic health during a period of plenty of uncertainty and turmoil. The Lone Star State weathered the recession better than nearly every other state, and it has one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates. It’s not just the state's standby energy industry that’s contributing to Texas’s good fortunes; tech companies like Facebook and Dropbox have recently expanded here, too.
Perry is fiercely competitive, even now, about Texas. While he praises his fellow Republican governors in other states for being pro-business allies, he can't help reveal his jealousy when they beat him at his own game. The Maryland-based American arm of Italian gun manufacturer Beretta, for instance, recently decided to build a new factory in Tennessee. Texas had been vying for Beretta, too. “Damn them,” Perry whispers loudly. He means it.
Perry isn’t usually one for retrospection, but he does remember a lesson he learned in his first months as governor as a way to show how far Texas—and himself—have come in the economic development game.
In the early part of 2001, Boeing was considering moving its corporate headquarters to either Chicago or Ft. Worth. The new governor thought he and his economic development board had made a good enough pitch for Ft. Worth, but were shocked when Boeing went with Chicago.
“We didn’t have a plan,” he says. “We were disjointed.”
He changed that, reforming the board of independent gubernatorial appointees into an agency that reported directly to the governor’s office. He also learned that economic development isn’t just about selling a business-friendly environment. The wives of the Boeing CEOs, for instance, were concerned about a lack of cultural opportunities in Ft. Worth. That stung, and Perry’s never forgotten it. He lists off with ease how the arts have come to Texas since Boeing decided not to. Ft. Worth has a new museum of modern art, a new symphony hall, and an addition to its already existing Kimbell Museum; Dallas has two performing arts centers, a sculpture garden, and is the new home of the American Film Institute; Austin has a new art museum, San Antonio a new performing arts center, and Houston has more theater seats than any city in America after New York.
As Perry rattles off the list, I take note of his appearance. He’s got a black sports coat over a black polo shirt, with dark gray pants. He’s wearing black-framed glasses, too. With all this talk about culture, he’s looking less like the gun-toting, big-talking Texan of the Republican presidential primary, and more like Steve Jobs.
12:27 PM, Feb 28, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The political action committee associated with Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor received a maximum donation from Koch Industries, despite the fact that Pryor, as well as many other Democrats, has frequently criticized the influence of the Koch brothers in an attempt to raise funds.
According to the most recent FEC filing for Pryor's Priority PAC, Koch Industries Inc. PAC gave $5,000 in September 2013. View the entire filing here, and a screenshot of the donation below:
9:01 AM, Feb 27, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Jack Kingston, the longtime Republican congressman from Georgia and a U.S. Senate candidate, is out with his first TV ad of the primary season. The 30-second spot will introduce Kingston, a South Georgian based in Savannah, to the rest of the state, particularly the Atlanta media market. The message of the ad is that Kingston is a principled conservative who shares values with the state's Republican voters. Watch it below:
6:00 AM, Feb 24, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The political committee for former Montana senator Max Baucus, a Democrat, wrote a large check to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just days before being confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to China. According to the DSCC's public filings, Friends of Max Baucus made a donation of $475,000 to the organization on January 31. Read a copy of the filing here, where Baucus's donation is listed on page 6.
6:33 PM, Feb 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama told Democratic governors that "we know how to win national elections." But, he said, Democrats need to win state elections and focus on this year's mid-term elections.
"But all too often it's during these mid-terms where we end up getting ourselves into trouble because, I guess we don't think it's sexy or something," Obama said.
Obama was speaking the governors at a Democratic fundraiser at the St. Regis hotel in Washington.
Via the pool report:
5:01 PM, Feb 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The 2014 Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Georgia remains effectively tied up among the five top candidates, according to a new poll. Businessman David Perdue, a first-time candidate and cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue, has the lead with 12.7 percent, the Daily Caller reports.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:45 PM, Feb 20, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with Sean Trende, a Senior Elections Analyst at RealClearPolitics on what the 2014 landscape looks like for Republican senate hopefuls.
10:04 AM, Feb 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
One Republican candidate hoping to replace Oklahoma's Tom Coburn in the U.S. Senate is out with a new ad introducing himself to voters statewide. T.W. Shannon, the 35-year former speaker of the state house, has a 60-second television spot highlighting his biography as a "sixth-generation Oklahoman" who is "guided by his faith" and instilling the values of his parents and grandparents in his own children.
6:01 PM, Feb 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican Matt Doheny, a House candidate in upstate New York, lost his two previous bids for the seat. His more recent defeat, in 2012, came after photos and video surfaced of Doheny, then engaged, kissing one woman and canoodling with her and another woman outside a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Doheny had been attending a GOP-sponsored candidate workshop in Washington.
2:22 PM, Feb 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton has a four-point lead over incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor in a new poll of the Arkansas race. According to the new Impact Management Group poll, 46 percent of likely Arkansas voters said they would support Cotton, the first-term congressman from Dardanelle, and 42 percent said they'd vote for Pryor.
12:16 PM, Feb 19, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican investment banker and two-time candidate for Congress Matt Doheny is running again for a House seat in upstate New York. Roll Call reports:
9:10 AM, Feb 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa is wide open, according to a new survey of GOP voters in the Hawkeye State. Mark Jacobs, a businessman and self-funding candidate, leads the pack with 22 percent, while state senator and Iraq veteran Joni Ernst earns 11 percent. Two more candidates, former U.S. attorney Matt Whitaker and radio host Sam Clovis, round out the field with 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
1:18 PM, Feb 17, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
One Colorado Republican running for the U.S. Senate this year has a message for voters: He cares. Ken Buck, who is running to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Udall, has a new ad in a series touting his record of helping people in his role as district attorney of Weld County, north of the Denver area.
The ad features Stephanie Drobny, a woman with two young children who fled an abusive husband in Montana. Drobny describes how Buck, as DA, helped her feel safe and even worked to change a loophole in the law to keep the ex-husband away from her children. Watch the video below:
12:01 PM, Feb 14, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of likely voters in Michigan shows GOP candidates for U.S. Senate and the governorship ahead of their Democratic counterparts. According to the Detroit Free Press, the latest EPIC-MRA poll shows incumbent Republican governor Rick Snyder leading his challenger, Democrat Mark Schauer, 47 percent to 39 percent.
Then deletes tweet and blames 'staff.'2:01 PM, Feb 13, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democratic senator Mark Warner of Virginia sent out a message on his Senate office's official Twitter account that claimed Republicans would blame this week's winter storms on Obamacare. Warner, who is up for reelection this year, deleted the message, though it remains recorded at Politiwoops, a website documenting deleted tweets from politicians.