Gov. Rick Perry

Photo by KUT News

Texas Democrats calling on Gov. Rick Perry to repay the taxpayer-funded security costs associated with his run for president shouldn't hold their breath. A Perry spokeswoman said Monday that it wasn't the governor's decision to have a security detail out on the campaign trail — it was the Department of Public Safety's. And she said "not a dime" of Perry's own travel expenses were paid by taxpayers. 

"The Department of Public Safety has a policy of providing security for governors and their families everywhere they travel, as they have back several administrations," said Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed. "These policies are determined by DPS and not the governor’s office. It’s unfortunate that we live in a day and age where security is an issue."

Nashed's response followed a letter that state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, the leader of the House Democrats, sent to the governor's office Monday, asking him to repay the $2.6 million the state spent on his security detail between August, when Perry entered the GOP presidential race, and last week, when he dropped out days before the South Carolina primary.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

When Joe Allbaugh walked into his first staff meeting at the headquarters of the Rick Perry presidential campaign on Oct. 24, the governor of Texas had already blown his once formidable lead in the polls.

But there was still hope that he could rise again, and campaign manager Rob Johnson introduced the physically imposing Allbaugh, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as a key part of the rescue effort.

“I’m just here to help,” several senior Perry advisers remember Allbaugh saying.

A few days later, at a subsequent gathering, it was a different story.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

When Gov. Rick Perry suspended his presidential bid, he said it was because there was no “viable path forward.” But is there a viable path back?

Herman Cain suspended his bid for the GOP presidential nominee back in December, but that's not stopping him from picking up votes in South Carolina's primary.

Could his mini surge of one percent of the vote be thanks to a late-breaking endorsement by Comedy Central comedian Stephen Colbert?

Image by Todd Wiseman, Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry took his fundraising muscle with him Thursday when he bowed out of the Republican presidential race. His exit freed not only what was left in his federal campaign coffers, but also the support of the political action committee that had spent $3.8 million in Perry’s favor.

The next filing deadline for federal campaign committees is Jan. 31, making it difficult to know how much money Perry’s campaign has left. But it does not appear to be very much.

“We have spent the bulk of our funds,” said Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for Perry. “So South Carolina was a final flag in the ground."

Photo by Ben Philpott, KUT News

Was Rick Perry ‘eating his feelings’ when he abandoned his presidential bid today?

Like the saying goes in his home state, everything about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign was big.

From the start of his candidacy, when he garnered instant front-runner status in some polls, to his embarrassing debate performances and his slide to the back of the pack, Perry's bid for the Republican nomination seemed outsized. So, too, were the expectations.

On Thursday, Perry left the GOP race and strongly endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, citing his "heart of a conservative reformer."

Photo courtesy MSNBC

Perry Announces End to Campaign - Jan. 19, 2012 by KUT News

"As someone who’s always admired a great, if not the greatest Texas governor, Sam Houston, I know when it’s time to make a strategic retreat.”

So said Gov. Rick Perry moments ago, retreating not from Santa Anna’s armies, but instead from dim prospects for this Saturday’s Republican primary in South Carolina. 

Photo by Ben Philpott, KUT News

Word that Gov. Rick Perry is bowing out of the GOP presidential primary will soon be confirmed by the man himself. Perry's team called a press conference in South Carolina for 10am Central Standard Time this morning, where he should confirm what aides told The Texas Tribune this morning: That Perry "is pulling out."

We'll be liveblogging the announcement from the KUT Newsroom in Austin, and via Ben Philpott's tweets on the ground in South Carolina.

Photo by Ben Philpott, KUT News

Texas Governor Rick Perry has called an 11 a.m. press conference this morning in South Carolina. According to The Texas Tribune, KUT's political reporting partner, and other media outlets, Perry will use the event to drop out of the GOP presidential race and endorse Newt Gingrich.

Rumors were swirling last night on Twitter, as various news outlets and blogs were saying the governor was calling it quits after he canceled an appearance at Bob Jones University Wednesday afternoon.

Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry Drops out of GOP race

Texas Governor Rick Perry is dropping out of the race for the GOP presidential nomination, sources are telling the New York Times and CNN.

Perry has a news conference scheduled for 10 o’clock this morning in South Carolina, where he’s expected to make a formal announcement.

The Associated Press reports he will endorse former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Tiny crowds. Calls for surrender. Defections.

The signs of defeat are everywhere, but Gov.Rick Perry is still campaigning as if he had a fighting chance to win the crucial South Carolina primary and keep his presidential ambitions alive.

Photo courtesy Fox News

The 16th debate of the Republican presidential primary season ended Monday with front-runner Mitt Romney bruised but not beaten. Gov. Rick Perry delivered one of his stronger performances, while Congressman Ron Paul remained blunt and unwavering on his anti-war, noninterventionist foreign policies.

During a two-hour debate before a highly enthused and vocal audience in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the moderators from Fox News and The Wall Street Journal mentioned the notable absence of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who dropped out of the race earlier in the day. That left the four underdogs scrambling for more airtime. They spent the first quarter of the debate criticizing Romney’s business record as the former head of Bain Capital, disputing his job-creation claims.

Photo courtesy

Rick Perry’s been immortalized in plastic.

Texas Public Radio reports that Texas governor and faltering Presidential candidate has been cast in plastic by a Connecticut-based boutique toy firm, Hero Builders. You can score a “Regular Man Rick Perry” for the low, low price of $39.95, or spring for the speaking “Executive” version of the Texas Governor for $69.95. (The doll “speaks” the infamous audio from Perry’s presidential debate where he couldn’t remember the third federal agency he would eliminate.)

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney grabbed first place in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, his second victory after narrowly securing Iowa by eight votes exactly a week earlier. (Full results)

“Tonight we celebrate,” Romney said in a victory speech you can watch above. “Tomorrow, we go to work.”

Romney is scheduled to hit the campaign trail in South Carolina Wednesday, where he’s expected to face a considerably more difficult contest ahead of that state’s primary on Saturday, January 21.

Texas Governor Rick Perry scarcely registered one-percent of the vote in New Hampshire. He skipped the Granite State to focus on South Carolina, hoping his socially conservative religious beliefs, his pro-military rhetoric, and the story of Texas economic success will trump Republican skepticism over his ability to win a general election.

“Tonight's results in New Hampshire show the race for 'conservative alternative' to Mitt Romney remains wide open,” Perry said in a campaign email Tuesday night. “I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we've been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome.”

The other Texan in the race, Congressman Ron Paul, met expectations with a solid second place finish in New Hampshire. The Texas Tribune’s Thanh Tan reports that Paul’s runner-up status will provide solid momentum as he pushes forward to South Carolina.

You can watch Paul’s victory speech here, and check all the other victory speeches at PBS Newshour’s YouTube page.

Photo by Jay Root, Texas Tribune

Governor Rick Perry's campaign sent this email tonight, after it became apparent that Mitt Romney was headed to victory in the New Hampshire Republican primary:

Tonight's results in New Hampshire show the race for 'conservative alternative' to Mitt Romney remains wide open. I skipped New Hampshire and aimed my campaign right at conservative South Carolina, where we've been campaigning hard and receiving an enthusiastic welcome. I believe being the only non-establishment outsider in the race, the proven fiscal and social conservative and proven job creator will win the day in South Carolina.

South Carolina is the next stop. I have a head start here, and it's friendly territory for a Texas governor and veteran with solid outsider credentials, the nation's best record of job creation, and solid fiscal, social and Tea Party conservatism.

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

There’s no sugar-coating Gov. Rick Perry’s chances right now. He has 11 days to convince South Carolina voters to forget his early stumbles, his fifth-place finish in Iowa and his meager chances in New Hampshire tonight.

Perry brought U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney on his bus today to stir up crowds at campaign stops. Mulvaney implored a large crowd in Fort Mill to forget about the Perry they saw in debates.

Rick Perry, trying to claw his way back into the 2012 presidential competition, conjured up images of hungry vultures on Tuesday to describe frontrunner Mitt Romney’s past as a corporate takeover artist.

Perry and other GOP hopefuls are increasingly using Romney’s track record at Bain Capital, the firm he led before becoming governor of Massachusetts, to tar the presidential frontrunner as a purveyor of greed and economic ruin.

Romney says he’s proud of his tenure there and frequently uses it to tout business credentials the other candidates don’t have. But during a town hall meeting in Fort Mill, Perry cited South Carolina companies that were taken over, broken up or sold off, prompting hundreds of layoffs.

Screen shot of Suffolk University poll results

Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer is beating Governor Rick Perry among likely Republican voters in New Hampshire, according to the latest Suffolk University tracking poll.

As you can see in the graphic above, Perry garnered one percent support among Granite State GOPers, compared to two percent for Roemer. The poll’s margin of error is 4.4 percent, so it’s basically a wash.

The survey also shows Romney dropping a couple points to 33 percent, but still well in the lead. And the "drop" is actually still within the statistical margin of error. 

A handful of new polls are out, all of which have Mitt Romney ahead in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary by varying margins.