Jay Root, Texas Tribune

Reporter with The Texas Tribune

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when he walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't the resist the draw: it was the the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and realized it wasn't for him. Soon he was applying for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. He has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.

Photo by Texas Tribune

The same might be said of his real estate deals.

Perry was not born into wealth and while he has drawn relatively modest pay as an elected official since 1985, he has made a small fortune on land transactions, some with the help of rich and politically connected friends. As the governor mulls a run for president, opponents and the news media are taking another look at his holdings and federal tax returns.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in New York for a speech that’s fueling speculation about a possible run for the White House, said Tuesday that voters seem hungry for more candidates to pick from in the presidential contest.

Perry is still undecided about his own prospects, but the explosion of interest in his potential candidacy has led the Texas governor to conclude that voters want more choices in the still-unsettled field. Perry made the remarks in a Texas Tribune interview hours before he delivers a highly anticipated keynote address at the Manhattan GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Newt Gingrich lost his presidential campaign staff Thursday, adding to already rampant speculation that Gov. Rick Perry will scoop them up to launch his own White House bid.

Two of the aides, Gingrich campaign manager Rob Johnson and consultant Dave Carney, have extensive links to Perry.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

There’s a sort of collective disbelief within the Texas political establishment about Gov. Rick Perry testing the uncertain waters of a presidential campaign.

Here’s a guy, once derided as “Governor Goodhair,” whose central claim to fame used to be that he was the politician who followed George W. Bush into the Texas governor’s office. This is the candidate who limped to re-election in 2006 with 39 percent of the vote. Today, even a poll in Perry’s own Texas shows he’s barely a blip on anybody’s White House radar, running behind well-established declared GOP candidates like Mitt Romney and even fellow Texan Ron Paul.

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller, Texas Tribune

His nickname around the Texas Capitol is “mucus.”

It’s a play on Michael Quinn Sullivan’s initials — MQS — but the moniker is fitting on at least two levels: It underscores how much of an irritant the conservative activist has become to politicians who dare buck his Tea Party orthodoxy. It also says something about Sullivan’s staying power in Republican-ruled Texas.

They can’t get rid of him.

Photo via the Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry just can’t seem to shut the door on a 2012 presidential run.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Most people around the Texas Capitol are taking bets on whether there will be a special session this summer to dig out from the wreckage of a budgetary train wreck. But the chattering class — the political pundits who make a living talking rather than passing (or killing) bills — are eager to make bets on something else: whether Gov. Rick Perry is going to run for president.

Never mind that Perry has said repeatedly, and pretty darn emphatically, that he won’t mount a White House bid next year. He's enjoying another little boomlet lately, what with fomer U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s troubles and the somewhat surprising exit from the race by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who might have courted some of the same folks Perry could rally.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is the latest to jump on the Perry-should-run bandwagon, dedicating 20 minutes of his mega-ditto air time to extol the virtues of the longest serving governor in the United States.

photo courtesy The Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday he has been "kind of pushing people" to come together on a Texas state budget that would make significant cuts to public education.

The governor, speaking to reporters outside a ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel, said legislative leaders were moving toward a deal that would avoid a special session. "I don't want to finalize the budget in here with you all — the House and the Senate are going to be who makes the final decision but we're very, very close," he said. "There always is a lot of emotions and what have you, and I've yet to see the perfect budget written," he said. "I'm optimistic at the end of the day, the 30th of May, the 31st of May, that we'll have a budget.

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