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 after a dismal showing in 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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