Former Texas Governor Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race on Friday, marking the first casualty of the 2016 campaign.
The departure of Perry, who had little support in early-voting states or among the GOP donor class, is unlikely to alter the contours of the Republican race. But Perry nevertheless implored his supporters in an email to back a candidate who embodies the principles of conservatism.
“The conservative movement has always been about principles, not personalities,” Perry said, before making a not-too-veiled swipe at Donald Trump, the GOP’s current front-runner. “Our nominee should embody those principles. He — or she — must make the case for the cause of conservatism more than the cause of their own celebrity.”
For almost two years, the swaggering Texan had prepared and studied for a second shot at the presidency. But in a 17-candidate field, Perry found himself weakened by fundraisers who ditched him for his rivals and by top surrogates who defected as his campaign crumbled. He raised only about $1 million in the first fundraising quarter, and he never had enough supporters for him to earn a spot in the premier GOP debates.
Rick Perry is a good man and a strong conservative. It’s a shame to see him bow out. Let’s hope he returns to public service as part of a Republican administration in 2017.
Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles in Action.