How Rick Perry navigated and shaped Texas politics as the state’s longest serving governor.
Rick Perry, the charming rancher, pilot, and politician from West Texas who was governor from 2000 to 2015, is one of the most important but polarizing figures in the state's history. Over the nearly forty years he spent in the political arena, his political instincts served as a radar primed to sense future political opportunities. Hugging the arc of Texas political change, he shifted from a rural, “blue dog” Democrat to one of the most conservative politicians the state had elected up to that time, overseeing the enactment of controversial redistricting, voting, and abortion measures. Yet his evolution was complicated and incomplete, as his stands on such topics as immigration, vaccine requirements, and the use of state funds to attract business ran into opposition from a growing and ever-more conservative wing of the Republican Party in Texas—and the nation.
Rick Perry is both a biography of Perry as a politician and a study of the shifts in state politics that took place during his time in office. Demonstrating that Perry ranks among the most consequential governors in Texas history, Brandon Rottinghaus chronicles the profound ways he accumulated power and shaped the governorship.
- 1. A Political Rebirth at the Dawn of the Modern Texas Republican Party
- 2. The House Years, 1984–1990: Democrat from “The Big Empty”
- 3. Republican Agricultural Commissioner, 1991–1998: “Jane Fonda–That Was Stretching It”
- 4. Lieutenant Governor, 1998–2001: “Together We Can--Junto Podemos”
- 5. Governor, 2001–2002: Into the Governor’s Mansion and the First Gubernatorial Campaign
- 6. First Full Term, 2003–2006: The 2003 Session and the Democratic Walkout
- 7. The 2005 Session and 2006 Election: “Governor 39 Percent”
- 8. The 2007 and 2009 Sessions and the 2010 Election: No Mood for Compromise
- 9. The 2011 Session and the 2012 Presidential Election: “I can’t . . . Oops”
- 10. The 2013 Session, Indictment, and the 2016 Presidential Race: “Answer to No One”
- 11. An Underestimated Political Rebirth
- 12. Legacy and Impact
- Author Interviews
The publication of Rick Perry was made possible by the support of the Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Endowment.