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The Brief: Aug. 2, 2011

He may be late to the game, but Gov. Rick Perry appears to have had little trouble mustering impassioned supporters.

Texas Governor Rick Perry gestures during his speech to the NAELO  National Assn. of Latino Elected Officials in San Antonio on June 23, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

He may be late to the game, but Gov. Rick Perry appears to have had little trouble mustering impassioned supporters.

Americans for Rick Perry — a group unaffiliated with the governor but, as a super PAC, permitted to spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of him — has already reported hefty fundraising hauls ($193,000 in the last 10 days of June, for instance).

Another super PAC, Jobs for Iowa, rumored to have the backing of a group of wealthy Texas Republicans, has bought airtime on Fox News in Iowa for a spot touting Perry's business credentials.

On Monday, two more groups surfaced: Veterans for Rick Perry and the Jobs for Vets Fund, which, as their names imply, have organized around a more specific Perry constituency. Lobbyist Dan Shelley, who has worked for Perry in the governor's office, founded the two groups, which will try to woo veterans to the Perry cause in Iowa and South Carolina. Jobs for Vets has already raised about $50,000.

Washington County Judge John Brieden, a Perry supporter who thinks the president should be a veteran, told Tribune's Ross Ramsey that Perry, should he run for president, and veterans would make a good match. "Veterans are an area where Perry is extremely strong," he said.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor Jay Kimbrough appears to have expressed interest in the committees, as has Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who shot a video for the groups.

Perry is one of only two Republican presidential candidates with military experience. The other is U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.


  • The Tribune's Chris Hooks has a look at Gov. Rick Perry's years at Texas A&M University, which by the late 1960s and early '70s had become an incubator for future state politicians, playing host to the friendships and rivalries that would come to define Texas politics decades later. Also, there's this: "Another more elaborate prank took Perry months to execute. It involved M-80 firecrackers and an acquired knowledge of the plumbing in A&M buildings."
  • As expected, state Rep. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, on Monday announced his intention to run for Fort Worth Democrat Wendy Davis' state Senate seat. But Hancock isn't the only Republican who's interested: Reps. Mark Shelton of Fort Worth and Vicki Truitt of Keller may also vie for the seat, which could prove difficult for Davis to retain after Republicans redrew her district this session.
  • The Austin American-Statesman reports that with passage of a a debt-ceiling deal in Washington looking likely, worry in Texas has turned from the threat of federal default to how those federal budget cuts included in the deal will affect the state.

“I was probably a bit of a free spirit, not particularly structured real well for life outside of a military regime. I would have not lasted at Texas Tech or the University of Texas. I would have hit the fraternity scene and lasted about one semester.”Rick Perry, in a 1989 interview with the Abilene Reporter-News, on his time at Texas A&M University


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