President-Elect Donald Trump will nominate former Texas Governor and Presidential contender Rick Perry to helm the Department of Energy. Perry is the longest serving Governor in the history of Texas, having succeeded President George W. Bush then was elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Perry was an early favorite for the GOP nomination for President in 2012 until his stunning gaffes made him a target for humor. He attempted to reboot his Presidential aspirations with a run for the 2016 election, but never found traction.
Perry’s nomination comes as a significant olive branch from Mr. Trump to social conservatives. Perry’s strong conservative bona fides made him a well-respected politician among the Tea Party wing of the GOP. Despite his gaffe in 2012, which was widely exploited by the left and on social media, Perry remained influential in Republican politics. (It is interesting that Gov. Perry, who is an Eagle Scout and attacked the Boy Scouts for their move towards being inclusive of gay scouts, will be serving, likely, in the same Cabinet with Rex Tillerson, who is widely credited with moving the Boy Scouts towards inclusion).
Most recently, however, Perry remained in the spotlight during his failed bid on Dancing with the Stars (perhaps the reality TV show link was a bonding moment for Mr. Trump and Mr. Perry). Before being named as Secretary of Energy, there was some speculation that Perry would make a return to Texas politics and challenge Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. Cruz, who made enemies when he actively opposed Donald Trump at the 2016 GOP Convention, would have had a very difficult run against Perry, who is still widely popular in the Lone Star State.
While Perry has had no direct positions in the energy industry, he did help to grow jobs in Texas and was a model for fiscal responsibility in government. Mr. Trump likely looked at these management-and-business related qualifications as reasons to put Mr. Perry in his Cabinet.
Mr. Perry will likely not face significant headwinds in his confirmation by the Senate.