(Gregory Bull / Associated…)
A group of California lawmakers and former elected officials are calling on Texas Gov. Rick Perry to run for president after meeting with him Thursday in Sacramento.
“Now, more than ever, our nation needs serious, experienced and principled leadership to create jobs, control spending and rebuild the economy. We believe Gov. Perry that you embody these attributes, and we urge you to become a candidate for the Republican nomination for the office of president of the United States,” the group's letter reads.
At least 21 people have signed the letter, most notably Assemblyman Paul Cook. The Yucaipa Republican was announced as an endorser of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney by the former Massachusetts governor's campaign just last week. More potential Romney defectors may sign the letter in coming days, according to a GOP source familiar with the meeting.
Among the other signers are Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, legislators Dan Logue, Ted and Beth Gaines, Mimi Walters and former University of California Regent Ward Connerly.
The letter highlighted job creation in Texas, which has eclipsed the rest of the country in recent years. It has not been without controversy, however -- Perry and the state Legislature recently closed a $27-billion budget shortfall by making steep cuts to education and social services and relying on accounting maneuvers.
The Sacramento meeting, which took place at veteran GOP fundraiser Jeff Miller’s office, came as Perry took a two-day swing through the state, including stops in Beverly Hills and Newport Beach. Among the participants were a number of the GOP lawmakers who, along with Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, visited Perry this year to discuss job creation.
“All the legislators in the room were asking for him to run,” said one Republican source who attended the event. “Texas has been so competitive, they want to see the country be competitive with the world.”
Perry reiterated that he has made no decision, the source said.
“He’s heavily considering it. Sixty days ago, he wasn’t considering it. Now, without a doubt he is considering it,” the source said. “People are so hungry for someone like this to run. No one’s that excited about the current field.”