Ted Cruz: 'Proud to Stand' With Perry

Saturday, 16 Aug 2014 02:59 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Sen. Ted Cruz quickly backed Rick Perry Saturday, saying he was "proud to stand' with the Texas governor in the wake of his indictment Friday on abuse-of-power charges.

In a Facebook post Saturday morning, the Texas Republican said Perry is "a friend, he's a man of integrity."

 


Cruz and other Republican supporters lined up to back Perry, calling the indictment a politically motivated move that should not have happened.

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

Perry, like Cruz, is a potential 2016 candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. He was charged with abusing his veto power for threatening to veto some $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, who refused to resign her office after pleading guilty to drunken driving, reports Fox News.

Perry's legal counsel, Mary Anne Wiley said the governor's veto was in accordance with the state constitution, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"We will continue to aggressively defend the governor’s lawful and constitutional action, and believe we will ultimately prevail," she said.

Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri, also backing Perry, said that he believes that most people would believe the indictment is political in nature, and may not affect Republican voters.

"This is not about somebody charged with taking a bribe or misusing government property," he said. "This is about a governor who said he didn’t want to agree to appropriations for a public official who had admittedly committed a crime. I don’t think anybody will think twice about it."

But with just under two years before the Iowa caucuses, Munisteri said, the indictment needs to be resolved quickly, as it could have an effect on the 2016 election season if the case is still dragging on.

"I think from his point of view he wants the quickest trial as possible," Munisteri said of Perry, who has not yet officially announced his intentions for the race.

Outgoing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also said he is "disappointed with Travis County’s attempts to criminalize state politics."

Perry, he said, did just what "any House or Senate Finance Chair would do to get the attention of a state agency.”

Ted Delisi, a Republican strategist and national field director for Perry's 2012 presidential campaign, told The New York Times that the prosecution is "highly partisan" and consistent with what comes out of the Travis County District Attorney's Office.

"The Democrats in this state haven’t been able to defeat Rick Perry at the ballot box," he said. "They’re going to try to defeat him at the courthouse. I don’t think they’re going to be successful either way.”

Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for Perry's full prosecution on the indictment, saying he's brought dishonor to his governor's seat.

“Governor Rick Perry has brought dishonor to his office, his family and the state of Texas," said state Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, reports the Chronicle. " Texans deserve to have leaders that stand up for what is right and work to help families across Texas. The indictment today shows a failure of Governor Perry to follow the law."

The indictment is symptomatic of a larger problem, Hinojosa said, and the party is calling for Perry to "immediately step down from office."

The Democratic National Committee is also already attacking, with a spokeswoman tweeting a picture of a banner newspaper headline that read: “Perry Indicted for Veto Threat” underneath her tweet: “What Perry woke up to.”

Urgent: Who Is Your Choice for the GOP's 2016 Nominee?

If Perry is convicted on the felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, he could face five to 99 years in prison on the first count and two to 10 on the second.

"I took into account the fact that we're talking about a governor of a state — and a governor of the state of Texas, which we all love," said Michael McCrum, the San Antonio-based special prosecutor handling the indictment, told Fox News. "Obviously that carries a lot of importance. But when it gets down to it, the law is the law."

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