A Texas appeals court dismissed one of the two criminal charges against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The Texas 3rd Court of appeals dismissed the "coercion of a public servant" charge, which Perry's lawyers argued violated the First Amendment.

"The statute on which the 'coercion of a public servant' is based, as written, and as we are bound to construe it, violates the First Amendment and, accordingly, cannot be enforced," the appeals court ruled Friday. The court will allow the second charge, which accuses Perry of 'abuse of official capacity,' to go forward at the trial court level.

The charges against the 2016 Republican presidential candidate are part of an abuse-of-power case against him stemming from 2013. Perry is accused of threatening to veto funding to the Travis County Public Integrity United unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned following a drunken-driving conviction. Lehmberg refused and Perry vetoed.

"The only remaining count we believe to be a misdemeanor, and the only issue is whether the governor's veto — or any veto in the absence of bribery — can ever be illegal," Tony Buzbee, Perry's attorney, said in a statement. "The appeals court made clear that this case was questionable. The remaining charge is hanging by a thread, and we are confident that once it is put before the court, it will be dismissed on its face."

Perry is in the midst of his second campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. At 1.8 percent in the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls, he in tenth place.

(h/t Austin-American Statesman)