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Greg Bluestein

Rick Perry courts Georgia voters with Supreme warning

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. AP/Jose Luis Magana

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. AP/Jose Luis Magana

Augusta- Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry invoked vacancies in the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to prod Georgia Republicans to unite behind presumptive nominee Donald Trump. And most didn’t need much goading, giving Perry resounding applause as he talked up Trump.

“This election that we’re facing isn’t about the next four years. It’s not about the next eight years. It’s about the next 50 years because of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Perry said. “And we better get it right.”

Perry was a leading critic of Trump during a short stint as a presidential candidate, but he quickly endorsed the billionaire in May after he clinched the nomination. He’s seen as a potential vice presidential nominee.

Perry, speaking at a fundraiser dinner at the Georgia GOP convention, said Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has repeatedly “proven herself not worthy” and told the cheering crowd “Trump will lead America to its greatest days.” (He didn’t actually use Trump’s name until about 23 minutes into the speech, ending with a crescendo of praise for the candidate.)

The Texan, who served as the state’s governor from December 2000 to January 2015, also told the crowd he’s not exactly pining over his old job.

“They asked me if I missed being governor,” Perry said. “And I tell them I will be really honest with you: I miss the circus, but I don’t miss the clowns.”

Side note: Perry was introduced by state Rep. Kevin Cooke, the lawmaker who painted Gov. Nathan Deal as a closet liberal. It’s a reminder that while Deal might consider Cooke a pariah, he’s still well-regarded among some of the grass-roots activists who gathered at the Georgia GOP meeting.

More: A quiet opening to Georgia’s GOP convention