Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Monday that an abuse-of-power indictment, as well as his being relegated to last month’s undercard Republican primary debate, tanked his presidential campaign.
Political media had trumpeted Perry as the next big thing in the GOP since the 2012 election cycle drew to a close. But predictions about Perry dominating the 2016 race couldn’t have been more wrong, as the former Texas governor became the first candidate to drop out of the Republican primary field Friday.
Perry told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that his political opponents in Texas succeeded in having a “corrosive effect” on his ability to fundraise over the summer.
“We knew early on that there were two things that we had to take care of, two things that needed to go away, if you will, and another thing that needed to happen. One of those was the indictment,” he said. “This indictment by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. This drunk DA that had used this office, we think, for political purposes… and had a real corrosive effect on our ability to raise money.”
A state grand jury indicted Perry in summer 2014 on one count of abuse of power and one count of coercion of a public servant for carrying out a threat to veto funds for the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. The district attorney, Democrat Rosemary Lehmberg, refused to resign after she was arrested for drunken driving in 2013. A state appeals court threw out the coercion of a public servant charge in July.
The nail in his campaign’s coffin was missing the cutoff for the primetime Republican primary debate in early August, Perry added.
“It’s kinda like flying an aircraft when you run into unexpected headwinds,” he told Hannity. “You better find a safe place to land and that’s exactly what we did last Friday.”