Rick Perry Enters the Race: Who Has the Most to Lose?
He's a fundraising master, media savvy, and may not be Bush 2.0
Texas governor Rick Perry has entered the 2012 race today, with his announcement during the Iowa straw poll, a strategic move that South Carolina governor Nikki Haley called "brilliant." Perry formally announced in Charleston, South Carolina at a convention organized by right-wing site RedState.com, and thus he's proved himself as adept at sucking the attention away from Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, and the rest of the candidates as Sarah Palin. The AP reports that earlier today, "Rick Perry tells SC voters [on a conference call]: I'm running for president and 'full well believe I'm going to win.'"
Update: From Perry's Margaret Thatcher-quoting announcement (video below, courtesy of Mediaite and Fox News):
Our nation cannot and must not endure four more years of aimless foreign policy. We cannot and must not endure four more years of rising unemployment ... rising taxes ... rising debt ... and rising energy dependence on nations that intend us harm. It is time to get America working again... I will work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your lives as I can.
Update: His website for president is already up. On his website, Perry has put up a statement explaining why he is running:
America’s place in the world is in peril, not only because of disastrous economic policies, but from the incoherent muddle known as our foreign policy. Our president has thumbed his nose at traditional allies such as Israel and Great Britain. We will not sit back and accept our current misery…because a great country requires a better direction…because a renewed nation requires a new president. That’s why, 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.
Well now that we (officially) know, let's look at what this means, to whom:
Who this is obviously bad for: All of his opponents. The New York Times has an article today where it makes quite plain that money is no object for Rick Perry. What could make him the "most formidable entrant in the Republican race so far" is that "he is among the top political fund-raisers in the country, with a vast network of wealthy supporters eager to bankroll his presidential ambitions." Let's look at some figures: in three campaigns for governor, "Perry has raised $102 million, including more than $39 million during his successful 2010 bid for re-election." And this time around?
People familiar with Mr. Perry’s plans said that he would aim to raise up to $10 million within a few weeks of formally entering the race on Saturday while his rivals compete for votes in Iowa’s straw poll. That is twice as much as any Republican candidate except Mitt Romney has raised all year.
Who this might not be that bad for: Perry has a great many similarities with George W. Bush, so those vehemently anti-Bush might be just as chagrined as Bachmann, Pawlenty, et al. However, in honor of today's announcement, a month old article from the New York Times highlighting the divide between Perry and Bush has been making the rounds again. In Texas, "the rivalry [between Bush and Perry] has become lore here in the state capital, at times bordering on urban legend," and they are known to be "in the same church, different pews." What does that mean, exactly?
Perry has broken politically with Mr. Bush, questioning his credentials as a fiscal conservative, accusing him of going on “a big-government binge” and playing down some of Mr. Bush’s accomplishments in Texas in light of his own.
Who this might not be that good for: But the Perry backlash from conservatives is already in full steam. At The Wall Strert Journal, Charles Dameron writes that one of the governor's "signature economic development initiatives"—the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, has "raised serious questions" among conservatives.
The Dallas Morning News has found that some $16 million from the tech fund has gone to firms in which major Perry contributors were either investors or officers, and $27 million from the fund has gone to companies founded or advised by six advisory board members... "It is fundamentally immoral and arrogant," says state representative David Simpson.
Meanwhile at the straw poll, Dave Weigel tweets that: "Perry grassroots are crashing the party."
Correction: Due to an editing error, this story originally incorrectly referenced Haley Barbour in place of Nikki Haley.