Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said his plans to run for president in 2016 are “moving right along” despite a Texas judge’s decision Tuesday not to throw out a pair of indictments against him.
A Texas grand jury indicted the then-governor in August on two abuse-of-power charges which claim he violated the law when he threatened and ultimately vetoed funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s office following a high-profile drunk driving arrest for its district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg. The longest-serving Texas governor and his legal team argue the charges are baseless and amount to a “criminalization of politics,” and Perry reiterated Wednesday that he’d do it again if he had the chance.
On Tuesday, a judge poked holes in the prosecution’s indictment, but declined to throw out the two charges, saying he was unable to do so before trial. Perry’s legal team is filing an appeal of that decision, an effort expected to take several months.
Perry, who ran for the White House unsuccessfully in 2012, has been laying the groundwork for a repeat bid for more than two years, traveling heavily to the early presidential states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to support local candidates and build a network of supporters. He said in a press conference that his plans are continuing despite the ongoing criminal proceedings against him.
“We’re going to continue on,” he told reporters, suggesting that the prosecution would bolster his argument to voters. ” Americans are looking for a leader who’s not afraid of standing up, who won’t be intimidated.”
Perry indicated he has already made a decision to seek the White House, and is planning an announcement in the spring.
“We’ll make a decision—or, actually, make an announcement, it’s a better term—in the May, June timetable just like we intended to,” Perry said Wednesday.
After the indictment, Perry’s political team sold t-shirts showing his smiling booking photo with the slogan “Wanted: For securing the border and defeating Democrats” on one side, and Lehmberg’s less-glamorous one and the text: “Guilty: driving while intoxicated and the perversion of justice.”
Likely GOP rivals, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Govs. Chris Christie Scott Walker, released statements Tuesday in support of Perry.