Rick Perry, the U.S. secretary of energy, took time out of his day job on Wednesday to assail the outcome of a recent student-government election at his alma mater, Texas A&M University at College Station.
Mr. Perry, who was the state’s Republican governor from 2000 to 2015, said that the election for student-government president, in which an openly gay candidate won for the first time, had been “stolen,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Mr. Perry, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president in 2012 and 2016, laid out his criticism of the campus election in what the Houston Chronicle called “an extraordinary submission” to the newspaper’s editorial board, which published it.
The election of Bobby Brooks at A&M, Mr. Perry charged, had “made a mockery of due process and transparency,” and may have been arranged by the Student Government Association, eager to demonstrate its diversity. Mr. Brooks, a junior, won the election, even though he drew only the second most votes, because the biggest vote-getter, Robert McIntosh, was disqualified, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Mr. McIntosh was disqualified because he failed to produce receipts for glow sticks that he had used in a campaign video. “The desire of the electorate is overturned,” Mr. Perry wrote, “and thousands of student votes are disqualified, because of free glow sticks that appeared for 11 seconds of a monthslong campaign.” He blamed the result on the fact that Mr. McIntosh is a white man.
Mr. McIntosh, a senior, is the son of a prominent fund raiser for the Republican Party, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, attributed Mr. Perry’s outburst to his passion for his alma mater, where he served as a Yell Leader as a student. “This must be his inner Aggie speaking, because this is certainly not something you expect a cabinet secretary to weigh in on – actually, probably not even a governor,” Mr. Jones told the Houston Chronicle.
A spokeswoman for Texas A&M told the Morning News, “I’m surprised he would have the time to do that.”