Trump’s first victim? Perry exits in early 2016 shake-up

AP, By Steve Peoples, September 12

St. Louis – Rick Perry’s presidential hopes ended with a whimper, a remarkable if predictable fall for Texas’ longest-serving governor and a leader many once considered the Republican Party’s savior.

History may judge the end as sealed back in 2011, when Perry froze on a debate stage and tried to recover with an embarrassed “oops.” Others may remember the former governor with the movie-star looks and a resume of successes as Donald Trump’s first political victim.

A clear line has been drawn in the GOP’s 2016 primary contest separating those allied with the reality television star and those who actively oppose him. The Republicans who have dared attack him have suffered politically, while Trump’s public associates so far have avoided backlash from the anti-insider wave that made Trump the unlikeliest of Republican presidential front-runners.

“There is no play in the playbook for where we are right now,” said John Jordan, a California winery owner and major Republican fundraiser. “Donors don’t know what to think. Nobody saw the Trump phenomenon coming. Probably a lot of Jeb donors wish they had their money back.”

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