Why He Matters
Perry, already Texas' longest-serving governor, won an unprecedented third four-year term in 2010. But it isn't just Perry's record-setting reign that has him sounding like the leader of his own republic.
Perry, a southern Democrat-turned-Republican, ignited a furor when he told an anti-tax "Tea Party" crowd in April 2009 that the federal government "has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens and its interference with the affairs of our state" and suggested that Texas may consider seceding from the rest of the country.
Perry jumped into the 2012 presidential race in August 2011, but after a series of poor showings during debates and in the early primaries he dropped out and endorsed Newt Gingrich. He switched his endorsement to Mitt Romney in late April 2012 when Gingrich decided to quit the race.