Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a conservative rally in Smithfield, N.C. last October. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Rick Perry's 2012 campaign went badly. I know that's not what he'd like us to talk about on the day that he announces his 2016 candidacy, and I am confident that some Perry supporters will pointedly request that we focus on his policies* and not his past performance. Well, too bad! Because his past performance was so bad -- historically bad -- that it's worth revisiting.

Particularly if you're thinking about giving him money.

Perry didn't actually spend that much, at least compared to other recent candidates. That's in part because he did badly enough, early enough that he stopped writing checks. According to FEC data, he ended up spending less than everyone on the graph below, save Mike Huckabee.


But he still spent a lot, in average-American terms. Nineteen million in 2012 dollars! And for that, he got ... very few votes.


And that 0.1 million votes was very close to being 0.0, because of rounding. According to U.S. Election Atlas, he earned 42,251 primary votes and 12,646 votes in the caucuses. That's 54,897 votes, which rounds up to 0.1 million by the skin of its teeth.

A lot of money spent for a not-a-lot of votes? That means Rick Perry's votes cost a lot more. A whole lot more.


(Now you see why we did that weird, drop-down format in the earlier graphs.)

We also conducted this exercise after Perry dropped out in 2012, at which point he had spent more than $1,000 per vote. He wound up getting enough votes after he dropped out of the race, though, to fall well below that threshold.

The fuller picture also means his campaign isn't quite the most expensive per-vote in recent federal primaries. That would have been Linda McMahon's 2010 Connecticut Senate campaign, at $454 per vote.

Anyway, this is Rick Perry 2016, a whole new guy! He's learned his lessons! He probably won't win this time, either, but at the very least, he'll likely end up with a slightly better cost-per-vote ratio.

Or so those people writing checks hope.


* Anti-abortion, pro-gun, Texas Texas Texas.