Timeline of events in Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s life

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Rick Perry had led a charmed political life, never losing an election between 1984 and 2010, despite switching parties and having the state around him shift from faithfully Democratic to fiercely Republican. But the longest-serving governor in Texas history saw his ballot-box fortunes change dramatically with 2011 and his disastrous run for the White House.


March 4, 1950 — Born in Paint Creek, a rural farming village north Abilene.

September 1968 — Arrives at Texas A&M University, becomes a “yell leader;” dreams of being a veterinarian but Perry’s science grades steer him instead to flight school. Joins U.S. Air Force upon graduation.

November 1982 — Marries Anita Thigpen, who Perry first met at an elementary school piano recital. The couple has two adult children; The Perrys became grandparents in June 2013.

November 1984 — Elected to the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat serving Denton County in rural West Texas.

September 1989 — Becomes a Republican mere days after learning he wouldn’t be named chairman of the powerful House Calendars Committee.

November 1990 — Upsets Democratic incumbent Jim Hightower to become Texas Agricultural Commissioner — with the help of then little-known GOP strategist Karl Rove.

November 1998 — Tops his former Texas A&M roommate, Democrat John Sharp, to become lieutenant governor. Perry gets backing from then-Gov. George W. Bush, who wanted to leave for the White House but keep the Texas governorship in Republican hands.

December 2000 — Sworn in as Texas’ 47th governor after Bush left to become president.

November 2002 — Bests Democrat Tony Sanchez, a Laredo oilman and banker, to win his first full-term in office.

November 2006 — Captures just 39 percent of the vote, but it’s enough to retain his post, besting a Democratic challenger and two independents.

March 2010 — Easily tops U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas’ GOP gubernatorial primary, dominating what was supposed to be a bruising battle between the state’s top Republicans.

February 2010 — Produces a laser-sited pistol from his running shorts and shoots a coyote he says was menacing his daughter’s dog while jogging in rural Austin.

August 2010 — Replies: “I have no intention to go to Washington, D.C.” when asked during a fundraiser at a barbeque restaurant if he’s planning to run for president in 2012.

November 2010 — Easily beats Democrat Bill White to win an unprecedented third gubernatorial term.

August 13, 2011 — Announces in South Carolina that he will run for president.

Sept. 22, 2011 — Still a front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, Perry says “I don’t think you have a heart” of those who oppose Texas’ policy of offering in-state college tuition to the children of illegal immigrants. His popularity slips and never recovers.

Nov. 9, 2011 — Forgets the third of three federal departments he has promised to shutter if elected during a Republican debate in Rochester, Michigan. His “Oops” moment is much of America’s lasting image of Perry.

Jan. 19, 2012 — Drops out of the presidential race in South Carolina, two days before the state’s primary. Perry says he’s “neither discouraged nor disenchanted” but was “highly rewarded” by his experience.

Jan. 13, 2013 — Tells a Dallas TV station that he and popular fellow Republican and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have a gentlemen’s agreement not run against each other for governor. Abbott never confirms such a deal.

June 26, 2013 — Convenes a second special legislative session after a 12-plus hour filibuster by Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis and hundreds of shouting protesters run out a midnight deadline to approve sweeping new restrictions on abortion during the first special session that ended June 25.

July 8, 2013 — Announces in San Antonio he won’t seek re-election.

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