No. 1 Governor in Executions: Rick Perry
234 executions in 11 years sparks debate from death penalty opponents
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2011 11:04 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has overseen more executions than any other governor in modern times, by a wide margin.   (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

(Newser) – Rick Perry holds one impressive record as Texas governor that even some of his competitors for the GOP's presidential nomination might not want—overseeing more executions than any governor in modern history, reports the Washington Post. With 234 people executed in Texas in Perry's 11 years as governor, Perry has overseen more deaths than the next two states combined (Oklahoma and Virginia) over the past 35 years. “If you don’t support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don’t come to Texas,” he wrote in his book Fed Up!.

Some legal analysts say Perry is not responsible for that huge number of executions, as decisions to seek the death penalty are controlled by local prosecutors and the Texas governor has little room to interfere in the process. “So the short answer to why Texas has the most executions is (1) size, and (2) not being obstructed by hostile courts," said the director of a pro-death-penalty group. But because Perry even vetoed a law to ban the execution of the mentally retarded, his critics say he is unusually enthusiastic about supporting the death penalty.