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Rick Perry Stumps Florida as He Looks at 2016 Presidential Bid

May 7, 2015 - 6:00pm

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will turn his eyes to Florida next week as he looks at running for the Republican presidential contest in 2016.

Despite U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., already in the contest and former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., expected to enter the race, Perry will stump across the Sunshine State next week. Perry will be in Fort Walton Beach on Tuesday night at an Okaloosa County GOP event. On Wednesday, Perry will be in Naples for a Collier County Republican Executive Committee event. Perry ends his swing in Florida on Thursday with a public forum at Flagler College in St. Augustine.

Perry has been busy in recent months in Florida. Back in March, he came to Jacksonville appearing at events with former Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Lenny Curry in the final days before the first round of the Jacksonville mayoral election. Curry is in a runoff against Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown later this month. Perry been supporting the former RPOF chairman since early January.

"In Texas, and as I travel the United States, I meet people who understand what it takes to transform communities and bring more opportunity for economic growth," Perry said in January when he endorsed Curry. By electing Lenny Curry, Jacksonville can have exactly that type of transformational leader in City Hall."

Perry has focused on the Sunshine State before and Florida was not exactly kind to his presidential ambitions. The Texas governor entered the 2012 Republican presidential contest late but he quickly rocketed to the top of the polls. A series of bad debate performances haunted him and he soon lost momentum, including being upset by businessman Herman Cain at the RPOFs Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando back in September 2011. After taking 10 percent in Iowa and 1 percent in New Hampshire, Perry dropped out of the race.

But Perry has been working early caucus and primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire as he gears up for another presidential bid. Focusing on his economic record during his tenure as governor, in which Texas led the nation in job growth, Perry is winning far better reviews this time out than he did in the last presidential election.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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