David Frum

05.31.13

The King of Texas

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Rick Perry has been governor of Texas for more than half my lifetime, so even the idea of him attempting a fourth term is a little mindboggling. 

For many observers, those are subtle signs that, come 2014, Mr. Perry’s name will be missing from the statewide ballot for the first time in nearly 25 years.

On the other hand, Mr. Perry just called a 30-day special session, and he still has not combed through the newly passed state budget and most of the bills passed during the recently concluded regular session. So there is plenty of time to shake things up with his veto pen or by pushing for the enactment of hot-button measures on abortion, guns and school vouchers — which is just what one of his top allies, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is asking him to do.

It has not escaped Team Perry’s notice that the governor was leading Mr. Abbott almost three to one in a spring University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll of likely Republican voters. And while Mr. Abbott has a bigger and better-financed organization, the governor is far better known, and allies say he would have no trouble putting together a campaign in a hurry. His campaign manager in the 2010 race for governor, Rob Johnson, did not settle into the post until June 2009.