By Ray Rivera| August 12, 2011 at 9:18 PM EST - Updated June 25 at 2:03 AM
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/RNN)
Rick Perry has thrown his cowboy hat into the presidential ring. The Texas governor officially announced his bid to run for president at the Francis Marion hotel in downtown Charleston on Saturday.
On a day when the Iowa straw poll marked the official start of eight candidates' hopes of winning the GOP nomination for president, another candidate stole some of the spotlight by announcing his plans to join the race.
"I'll work every day to make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said during a speech Saturday.
Perry announced he's joining the race for the White House during a speech at the RedState Gathering.
"It's time to get America working again," Perry said."Page one of any economic plan to get America working is to give a pink slip to the current residents in the White House."
"First and foremost, I'm a proud American,"Perry told the crowd."America is not broken. Washington, DC is broken."
Audience members from the area and throughout the country packed the conference room to hear the Texas governor speak.
"We need to support a candidate whose got a vision for this county. Whose got the courage of his convictions," said Don Goldvarg who made the trip from Baltimore.
Charleston resident Sheri Irwin said,"We're one of the primaries, so I think South Carolina is a good place to make an announcement like this."
The news of the Texas governor's entrance into the race was scooped by a post on his website Saturday afternoon, more than an hour before speaking in Charleston.
"With faith in God, the support of my family, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I am a candidate for President of the United States," Perry said in a statement on his website.
Perry enters the race a strong contender to frontrunner Mitt Romney, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll about current and potential GOP presidential candidates.
Of the 1,000-plus people polled, 15 percent said they would vote for Perry. Romney garnered 17 percent of the vote, which, with a 3 percent margin of error, puts the two in a virtual tie.
The 61-year-old could be the voice much of the Republican base has been searching for, boasting cornerstone party credentials. He's fiscally and socially conservative and brings to the campaign a wealth of executive experience as Texas' longest serving governor.
Perry ascended to the governorship of Texas after George W. Bush was elected to the presidency in 2001 and hopes to follow in his footsteps all the way to the White House.
Perry touted his accomplishments as governor which shows a robust record of job creation, even during a down economy. Since 2009, 37 percent of jobs created in the U.S. were created in Texas, according to Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher.
Perry is the latest and perhaps one of the final candidates to declare in a crowded Republican field. Potential candidates yet to publicly declare their intentions include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.
Perry touts himself as a 10th Amendment Republican, advocating for states as laboratories for democracy and pushing for a smaller, less intrusive government.
Perry was born in Paint Creek, TX, and is a graduate of Texas A&M University. After college, he flew C-130s in the Air Force.
He began his political career in 1985 as a state representative. He later served as Texas Agriculture Commissioner until he ran for and won the seat of Lt. Governor.
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