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.

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2012 Presidential Election
1:21 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Swagger In Check (a Bit), Perry Responds to Obama

Photo by Jay Root/The Texas Tribune

BEDFORD, New Hampshire — A day after the White House and even some fellow Republicans admonished Gov. Rick Perry for warning of potentially “treasonous” acts by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, the governor responded — more politely this time.

With a little less Texas swagger, but issuing a direct challenge nevertheless to President Barack Obama, Perry said his record on jobs in Texas was all the response he needed to give.

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2012 Presidential Election
6:29 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

Perry and Bachmann Compete for Iowa Spotlight

Governor Rick Perry greets a Republican woman at the Electric Park Ballroom on August 14th on his arrival in Iowa.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Michele Bachmann may have won the Ames Straw Poll, but Rick Perry is getting the rock star treatment in Iowa.

Perry was all but mobbed by reporters — from Iowa and around the nation — when he arrived at the Electric Park Ballroom in Waterloo, Bachmann’s hometown and site of the Black Hawk County Lincoln Day Dinner.

The event comes only a day after Perry officially leapt into the 2012 presidential race — and a day after Bachman won the Straw Poll. 

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2012 Presidential Election
10:22 am
Sat August 13, 2011

Perry's Southern Strategy Begins in South Carolina

Guilds Davis installs chairs in ballroom at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, S.C., on Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, where Gov. Rick Perry will announce for president Saturday.
Photo by Jay Root, Texas Tribune

Republican candidates have generally looked to South Carolina as a “firewall” to make a final stand in fending off the attacks from challengers. For Rick Perry, it may be more like a launching pad.

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2012 Presidential Election
9:52 am
Wed August 10, 2011

On Tape, Perry Quipped Texans "Thinking About" Secession

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

As Gov. Rick Perry begins criss-crossing the nation in pursuit of the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, one of his most controversial utterances as governor — his flirtation with secession at an April 2009 rally on the steps of Austin's City Hall — is sure to get renewed scrutiny from the national press.

Turns out, it wasn't the first time Perry entertained the idea of Texas leaving the United States of America.

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Politics
10:52 am
Tue August 9, 2011

Suit Alleges Perry Approved Unconstitutional Income Tax

Photo by KUT

The business tax overhaul that Gov. Rick Perry and fellow GOP leaders championed in 2006 as a fix for the school finance system is now under attack in the Texas Supreme Court — as an unconstitutional state income tax.

An insurance claims adjustment company from the San Antonio area, Boerne-based Allstate Claims Service, L.P., filed the lawsuit a few days ago. It’s too early to gauge how far it will go, and the state of Texas — sure to vigorously defend the tax — hasn't given the court its official answer yet.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:22 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

Perry Will Make Clear He's Running for President

Governor Rick Perry gives a short final speech at The Response at Reliant Stadium on August 6, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich/The Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry will make it clear he's jumping into the 2012 presidential race during an appearance this weekend in South Carolina, Republican sources said Monday.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:22 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Cloud of Controversy Hangs Over "Prayerpalooza"

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman/Jim Ellwanger, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry is finally getting the national spotlight he’ll need to run for president, but this weekend’s “day of prayer and fasting” rally in Houston may not be the kind of attention he was looking for.

The Response — informally nicknamed “Prayerpalooza” — gets underway Saturday under a cloud of controversy. Its official sponsors and endorsers have been criticized as extremists and bigots. Several groups, including the Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing soldiers' funerals, are promising to protest the event. A legal challenge was mounted and then tossed out. And the one U.S. governor who accepted Perry’s invitation to attend, Sam Brownback of Kansas, is now a definite maybe.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:22 am
Fri July 29, 2011

Well-Timed Land Deals Built Perry's Portfolio

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.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:43 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

Rick Perry Says Voters Want More Options In GOP Field

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.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:19 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Gingrich Defections Fuel More Talk of Perry Run

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.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:50 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Sizing Up a Rick Perry White House Bid

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.

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Politics
7:38 am
Fri May 27, 2011

Conservative "Outsiders" Have Inside Track in Texas

Michael Quinn Sullivan
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.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:44 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Perry Won't Rule Out 2012 Run For White House

Photo via the Texas Tribune

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

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2012 Presidential Election
4:30 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

Perry Says White House Talk Won't Distract Him

Gov. Rick Perry makes a playful salute to the son of State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, as he walked through the House chamber on his way to a meeting with House Speaker Joe Straus at noon on May 19, 2011.
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.

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Politics
1:20 pm
Thu May 19, 2011

Gov. Perry: Legislative Budget Leaders Close to Deal

Governor Rick Perry has been meeting with House and Senate leaders today to try and get a budget deal.
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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