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Texas Governor Rick Perry has held the top leadership position in one of the largest U.S. states since 2000, when former governor George W. Bush won the U.S. presidency. Perry withdrew from the Republican Party's presidential nomination contest on January 19.

The Texas governor had pledged to reduce the size of the federal government, and he proposed eliminating or combining several federal agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Education and Energy.

Perry focused his campaign on economic issues, holding up his record in Texas as an example of how he could improve the national economy. He has been an outspoken opponent of the Obama administration's health care reform plan. He is a conservative Christian and has signed several state laws making it more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion. He also supports the death penalty.

In 1988 Perry was a Democrat, and a supporter of former vice president Al Gore, whose lost his bid for the presidency to George W. Bush. Perry switched his affiliation to the Republican Party a year later.