AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Could Texas Gov. Rick Perry be California dreamin'?
The Republican has made persuading top employers around the country to move to Texas a centerpiece of his administration, even leading a series of job-poaching missions in Democratically controlled states. And California has been a prime target, with Perry bashing what he calls the Golden State's high-tax, over-regulated ways.
But a New York Times Magazine story released Tuesday says Perry's so enamored with California that he could move there when his term ends.
"Perry told me that he loves California, vacations in San Diego annually, visits the state about six times a year and might even move here in January when he's done with his 14-year stint running Texas," writer Mark Leibovich says in the article, which was based on comments the governor made while visiting Los Angeles.
Perry isn't seeking re-election in November but hasn't ruled out a second presidential run after his 2012 White House campaign flamed out in a series of public gaffes. In April, he scored a major political victory when Toyota announced it was moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Texas.
Asked about the possibility that Perry could be mulling the opposite move, spokesman Travis Considine noted his comment to the magazine came after Perry was asked where he would live if he could live in any state other than Texas.
"I would live in California if I could afford it," Perry said according to a partial transcript of the interview with Leibovich, which Considine provided Tuesday. "Why wouldn't you want to live out here? Seriously?"
Considine added that Perry "posed a rhetorical question, which he has answered many times by noting how California's high cost-of-living is a contributing factor to why people move away from such a beautiful state."
Still, such a move for Perry would be ironic because the governor is one of California's harshest — and highest-profile — political critics. Since last year, he has visited New York, Illinois and other states with Democratic governors in hopes of wooing top job creators. But Perry's first such trip was to California and he even appeared in radio ads proclaiming, "I hear building a business in California is next to impossible."
That hasn't stopped Perry from going to California frequently since then, though.
He was in the state just last week, driving to the state Capitol in a Tesla Model S electric car as part of his effort to persuade the company to build a battery factory in Texas. At a subsequent appearance in San Francisco, Perry made national headlines by saying he believed homosexuality was a disorder like alcoholism.
Considine said the impression that Perry doesn't care for California is incorrect. He noted that during the same San Francisco address, the governor said, "I know sometimes I get a bit of a rap that I only come to California to recruit businesses to come back to Texas, but the fact is — well, I have done that — but I root for this state."