Rick Perry challenges Andrew Cuomo to a debate


Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to debate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

Rick Perry just can’t stop.

The longest-serving governor in Texas history has been touring the nation and appearing in ads trying to lure businesses to the Lone Star State. Now, in a new ad, he sets his sights on New York, but this time he’s also inviting the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo (D), to a debate.

“A debate between the governors of two of the largest states in the country on policy issues such as taxes, government spending, education, regulations and legal reform would be beneficial to our states and our country as a whole,” Perry said in statement Tuesday. He offered a similar invitation during a morning radio interview on Albany’s Talk 1300 AM. Perry is in New York through Thursday meeting with business leaders and touting Texas’s job creation policies.

Perry famously stumbled badly in a debate among Republican presidential candidates in 2011 when he failed to remember the final of the three federak agencies he said he would cut if elected. “If anybody’s looking for the slickest politician or the smoothest debater, I readily admit I’m not that person,” Perry said on “Fox & Friends” after that debate.

In the new ad airing in New York — by Americans for Economic Freedom, a free-market group championing conservative policies — Perry chastises the Empire State for its high taxes and then says: “If you’re tired of New York, there is an option: Texas.”

For more than a year, Perry has made appearances in person and in ads targeting business leaders in other states and parts of the world. He was in California in February and Connecticut and New York in June. Many of the ads and some of the travel have been paid for by TexasOne, a public-private partnership run through the Texas Economic Development Corporation in Austin.

Other places that have been targeted in the campaign, sometimes with Perry surrogates, include Illinois and Missouri, as well as Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. In 2012, the group paid for recruitment trips to Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, Montreal, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Italy. It is funded by a host of businesses and organizations local to Texas and national and international, including Exxon Mobil, Shell, Capital One, Verizon, and AT&T.

New York was the nation’s second-largest state economy from 1997 to 2003, followed by Texas, according to federal economic data. But the two swapped spots in 2004, and Texas has remained the second-largest state economy behind California, with New York in the third spot. On a price-adjusted, per capita basis, however, New York’s economy has routinely ranked several spots above that of Texas. In 2012, New York’s per capita real GDP ranked eighth in the nation, while Texas’s ranked 15th.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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