Flanked by famous Navy SEALs, Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday announced that he will seek the White House, becoming the tenth Republican to enter the race.
Perry, who flew planes in the Air Force, is one of the only people running for president in 2016 with military experience, something he highlighted during his Addison, Texas announcement rally.
“I was proud to wear the uniform of our country as an Air Force officer and as an aircraft commander,” Perry told the crowd. “After serving, I returned home. I returned home to those rolling plains and that big ole sky of West Texas.”
The campaign highlighted the “group of America’s finest patriots” on hand for the announcement in Addison, TX, including retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the author of Lone Survivor, retired Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient Mike Thornton, and Taya Kyle, the widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle.
Perry’s wife, Anita Perry, introduced her husband Thursday. Speaking of Luttrell, she said: “Marcus has been very kind in describing how we were there for him. But in reality, we learned as much from Marcus as he could have ever learned from us.”
Keeping with the pro-military theme, at one point, Perry discussed the time he took his father to the American cemetery that overlooks the bluffs at Omaha Beach, of the D-Day invasion. “On that peaceful wind-swept setting, there lies 9,000 graves,” Perry said.
He also spent his speech calling for reducing government.
“And yeah, it’s time for a reset,” Perry said. “Time to reset the relationship between government and citizen.”
Perry, who was governor for 14 years, briefly ran for president during the 2012 cycle, leading the polls of Republicans at one point. But this go around, Perry has some work to do: the Real Clear Politics Polling average of Republicans across the country show Perry with just 2.7 percent of support.
In 2012, after some lackluster debate performances and disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, Perry dropped out of the race and endorsed Newt Gingrich ahead of the South Carolina primary.
Other Republicans who have announced they are running for president include Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki.
Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and Bobby Jindal are expected to announce whether they will enter the presidential race over the next few weeks. Others — including Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and John Kasich — haven’t officially entered the race yet either, but are actively preparing for runs.