Iowa event finds many Perry supporters

Caucus Blog, NY Times:

Rick Perry is not yet in the race for president, but don’t tell the the people collecting e-mail addresses alongside tables for other, declared candidates at a gun-rights rally here on Saturday.

In T-shirts reading “Americans for Rick Perry,” they buttonholed the largely male crowd, who had come to inspect the wares of companies like Controlled Chaos Arms and to test-fire a 50-caliber assault rifle, its shell – one to a customer, please – as big around as an Iowa corncob.

The month-old group has a paid staff of eight in Iowa and raised about $400,000, it says, to lay the groundwork if Mr. Perry, the Texas governor, decides to run in the Republican primary, as seems increasingly likely.

His entry could dramatically shake up the field, siphoning Tea Party support from Michele Bachmann as well as mainstream Republicans who back Mitt Romney.

In polls last week, Mr. Perry was near the top with Republicans and independents who lean Republican.


One committee member, according to The Des Moines Register, argued against including what-if candidates promoted by “a shady 527 group,” a reference to Americans for Rick Perry. That group is set up under election laws allowing it to take unlimited donations, but barring it from direct ties with Mr. Perry. Its founder, Bob Schuman, a political consultant in San Diego, said he has never met the Texas governor nor spoken with his strategists.

He said the average donation to his group was $7,000 to $8,000, with several people giving “tens of thousands” of dollars. This week the group begins seeking small donations with a mass e-mailing in Texas. “In terms of the people contacting us, there is a big populist appeal for Perry,” Mr. Schuman said.

But the group is not exactly a grass-roots outfit. Its Iowa director, Craig Schoenfeld, and most of the other paid staff worked similar jobs for Mr. Gingrich before resigning en masse from his campaign last month.

Excluded from the straw poll on Aug. 13, which is a test of organizational strength in Iowa, the Perry group has shifted strategy. “If there’s Iowans gathered some place and they’re Republicans, we’re talking about Rick Perry,” Mr. Schoenfeld said.

There seems to be some enthusiastic donors hoping Perry gets in the race and they appear to be working to ease his entry into the Iowa caucus. I am surprised the folks at the gun rights rally were not told about the governor's killing of a coyote that threatened his daughters dog while they were out jogging.

I think Perry stands a very good chance of winning the Iowa caucus when he gets in. I do not think he will be underfunded in that race. He seems to be concerned about the follow on races and the money it will take to compete in those. In North Carolina he already leads Obama in a head to head race. Perry could probably run a good race in South Carolina and Florida which could give him the momentum to carry the nomination and clear the field other than Romney who will probably win in New Hampshire.

Perry is certainly doing his homework before stepping into the race and he is already taking shots at Obama. He accused the President of turning US astronauts into hitchhikers with the demise of the manned space flight program.


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