Perry Denies Rumors|of Third-Party Run

SAN ANTONIO (CN) – Former Gov. Rick Perry dismissed reports that his apparent failure to vote in the Texas Republican primary on Super Tuesday indicates he is considering a third-party run.
     In Texas, an independent candidate for president must abstain from voting in a state primary because to do so would require the candidate to declare him- or herself a Democrat or Republican, the Texas Tribune reported. Independent candidates also must deliver 79,939 signatures by May 9 from voters who have not voted in a Texas primary this year.
     Perry, who has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz, dismissed the rumors this week and insisted that he filled out his ballot and mailed it in “within 72 hours of receiving it.”
     After moving out of the governor’s mansion in 2015, Perry and his wife Anita settled in Fayette County, about 70 miles southeast of Austin.
     The county’s election administrator Dina Bell said Perry picked up a mail-in ballot in person on Feb. 1, but told the Texas Tribune that her office “never received” a ballot from the state’s longest-serving governor.
     A Perry spokesman suggested that the ballot may have been lost in the mail.
     Perry, 66, has been mentioned in recent weeks as a possible third-party candidate by conservatives who seek an alternative to GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
     Former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s name has also been floated as a possible recruit, according to The New York Times.
     Jeff Miller, a Perry spokesman who managed his presidential bid this year, said Perry “has no interest in running as a third party candidate,” but wants Republicans to unite around Cruz “for the good of the country.”
     In September last year, Perry became the first Republican to drop out of the race when lack of funding and low poll numbers sank his campaign after 99 days.
     He threw his support to Cruz and encouraged others to vote for the fellow Texan in stump speeches across the country.
     Cruz carried his home state and 104 of its delegates on Super Tuesday, with 44 percent of the vote.
     Perry partly blamed a felony indictment in Texas for scorching his second failed White House run.
     The state’s highest criminal court in February dismissed the remaining charge against Perry after an 18-month legal battle stemming from charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.
     The special prosecutor has hinted that he would ask the Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider the case, but no formal request has been made.

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