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The Rick Perry I Know

By Matthew Dowd, National Journal - August 6, 2011

In 1986, I was running the Texas Democratic Party primary, and in walked an attractive rancher who submitted his filing to run as a Democrat for state representative for a district in rural West Texas. That rancher is now the state's Republican governor, Rick Perry. I have known him for 25 years off and on, and I know his staff very well. And Perry is about to become a dominant force in the Republican nomination process for president.

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a column for National Journal saying that we need to watch out for Perry, that he would make a formidable presidential candidate, even though he had expressed no interest at the time in running. But the political environment and the Republican field made me think that Perry could have a legitimate shot. 

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