GOP Primary Fallout: What's Next as Perry Returns to Texas?

photo by: Bob Daemmrich

Gov. Rick Perry during his caucus night speech on Jan. 3, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Governor Rick Perry bowed out of the GOP Primary Race before voting in South Carolina even began. Edel Howlin spoke to local pundits about what’s next for our Governor James Richard 'Rick' Perry.

"I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path forward for me."

Surrounded by his wife and family Rick Perry broke the news.

"I am suspending my campaign."

And just like that, he took himself out of the running for the 2012 GOP Presidential Race.  Perry announced his intention to run back in August and spent many months campaigning, debating, hand-shaking, baby kissing and making the odd gaffe or two. 

"The third agency of government I would I would do away with the education, uh, the...uh, I...I...commerce and let's see, I can't...the third...sorry, oops."

So what's next for Texas's longest serving Governor? Well, University of Houston's Political Scientist Brandon Rottinghaus believes with many of his policies, Perry could still make it big on the national level.

"I still think in the future that he could be a player in the national Republican Party. Given that the Republican Party some of the major segments of the Republican Party are very much orientated toward states' rights as opposed to federal intervention. He makes those messages very clear and articulates them fairly well."

On the more local level, Rice University Political Scientist Mark Jones says that as soon as Perry gets back to Texas, he's got some big decisions to make.

"What he needs to start thinking about now more than anything else is what does he want to do in 2014?  Is this going to be his last gubernatorial term or is he going to think about re-election.  If he's considering re-election then he needs to start mobilizing now to shore up his base of support within the Republican Party."

Perry could decide another term is his next move, but Jones feels that the mistakes Perry made on the campaign trail may come back to haunt him.

"It's undermined his support among people that view his national campaign as something of an embarrassment, but it also undermines the image of him as this savvy campaigner and skilled politician. On the national stage, he revealed himself to not be the campaign genius that he had the reputation for being here in Texas."

Whatever the next move, Jones believes that Perry will keep a low profile and re-focus on Texas issues for now.  The state is still hurting from the worst drought in its history and dealing with a legal battle on redistricting.  So it seems, he'll have his hands full. 

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...