By Alistair Bell
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on Thursday he will pursue the Republican presidential nomination again in 2016, seeking redemption for a fumbled White House bid in 2012 and adding to a crowded field of conservative candidates.
He launched the campaign on his website (www.rickperry.org) and scheduled a 10:30 a.m. CDT (1530 GMT) event Thursday in Addison, a Dallas suburb.
“I am running for president because I know our country’s best days are ahead of us,” Perry said on the site. “The road to the White House will demand my best and I will work every day to earn your support.”
The longest-serving governor in Texas history, Perry’s 2012 candidacy fell apart in an embarrassing Republican debate performance when he failed to remember the third of three government agencies he wanted to scrap, blurting out “Oops.”
On the campaign trail, Perry will be expected to tout low taxes in his home state and the 1.4 million jobs he says Texas gained since 2007.
Perry, 65, has presented himself since as a more thoughtful, policy-oriented candidate. He told The Washington Post as he left office after 14 years last December that he would be “a substantially different, versed candidate” if he ran in 2016.
Wearing his signature thick-framed glasses, Perry used an agriculture summit in the early voting state of Iowa in March to try to showcase his grasp of foreign policy, one of his weak points the last time around.
Perry attacked President Barack Obama’s China policy and the administration’s diplomatic opening to Cuba at the event.
Perry’s campaign might suffer from a felony case against him on charges of abuse of power over his veto of funding for a state ethics watchdog. Perry said the case is a political ploy.
“Rick Perry is the most accomplished of all of the folks that are potentially running in 2016,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said. The Republican presidential field already includes nine announced candidates.
“He’s going to have to take it from resume to action on the stump and at the ballot box,” he said. “It’s very hard in politics to get a second chance to make a first impression.”
This time around, he made an early start to fundraising, naming more than 80 major donors who will support his campaign or SuperPAC.