Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t letting a grand jury indictment for alleged abuse of power put the brakes on his nascent presidential campaign.
The three-term governor and 2012 presidential candidate will travel to New Hampshire for a morning “victory rally” in Stratham Saturday, where Perry will meet voters over coffee and doughnuts.
The trip comes shortly after Perry was charged with felony coercion of public official and abuse of official capacity in Texas, after the governor followed through on a threat to veto funding for an anti-corruption unit in the Travis County district attorney’s office.
That move was aimed at forcing the resignation of county District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who pled guilty to drunk driving charges—captured in mortifying police footage—in 2013.
The state Democratic Party called on Perry to resign, writing he “brought dishonor to his office, his family and the state of Texas” in a statement, though observers from both political parties have expressed skepticism about the merits of the charges. Former Obama advisor David Axelrod, for example, called the prosecution’s case “pretty sketchy.”
The New Hampshire Republican State Committee echoed those sentiments in a press release welcoming Perry to the state, calling the charges “ridiculous.”
“It appears that partisan political operatives are trying to smear the governor for demanding accountability from a politician who had lost the public’s confidence after she was convicted of a crime and thrown in jail,” chair Jennifer Horn wrote in a statement. “It is obvious to anybody who watches the video of the District Attorney’s disgraceful conduct that she does not deserve to remain in office.”
Perry told Fox News Sunday last weekend that he “stood up for the rule of law” when vetoing the unit’s funding.
“I had lost confidence in her, the public had lost confidence in her and I did what every governor has done for decades, which is make a decision on whether or not it was the proper use of state money to go to that agency and I vetoed it,” he said. “I stood up for the rule of law in the state of Texas. If I had to do it again, I would make exactly the same decision.”