Perry, Social Conservatives and the Road to the Top

Twenty-six years after he rode into Austin as a Democratic House member from Haskell, Rick Perry sits at the top of one of the country's most conservative state Republican parties, having forged a coalition of economic, religious and social conservatives that has helped him become the state's longest-serving governor and poised for a national political run.

When he started, two of those groups weren't always welcome at the Republican table. Perry, who started his political career with "D-Haskell" appended to his name, fully consolidated his hold on the Texas GOP in March of 2010 with his crushing ...

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