You’ve got to admit it’s a great story, from the UK Telegraph:
After the Air Force, Mr Perry returned home to become a rancher, going into business with his father, a Democrat who served as an elected County Commissioner. In 1984, after considering becoming a commercial pilot, he decided to enter politics and run for state representative.
His friend Don Comedy, married to a girl from Mr Perry’s high school class, was his campaign manager. The district was so big that the pair used Mr Perry’s 1952 Piper Super Cub plane, decorating its cloth-covered fuselage with campaign stickers.
The population was so sparse that when they spotted a farmer on a tractor in his fields they would swoop down to land so they could canvas him.
“Once we had to land in a pasture due to fog,” he recalls. “A rancher came by in his pickup. We were both wearing coats and ties. Rick says ‘Howdy’ and reaches into his jacket for a leaflet. I hear this lever action of a rifle – a very distinctive sound.
“This guy thinks we were drug dealers. Rick is looking down a rifle but he keeps talking.” By the time the conversation had finished, the rancher had written a cheque for the Perry campaign.
“I decided right then,” says Mr Comedy, “that anyone who can go in a matter of minutes from the first impression of being a drug dealer to getting a campaign contribution would go far.” It was the first of nine Texas elections that Mr Perry would win.