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Watching and Waiting: Rick Perry 2012

Perry could gain support of key GOP constituency. He also faces fundraising challenges.
Photo by KUT News
Perry could gain support of key GOP constituency. He also faces fundraising challenges.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. And now for an update on the latest media coverage of the fanfare and speculation surrounding Texas Governor Rick Perry’s possible run for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Support from the Christian Right

Since the 1980s, conservative Christian groups and leaders have been an influential force in Republican politics. Early into this Presidential primary cycle, the voice of the Christian Right has been pretty muted. However, they may be ready to speak soon, if Governor Perry obliges. According to Time Magazine, prominent conservative Christian leaders held a conference call in early June to discuss their dissatisfaction with current Republican Presidential candidates and express their support for Perry, if he were to enter the race. Perry generally has strong conservative Christian credentials and is planning a Christian all-day prayer event called The Response on August 6th in Houston, which will be co-sponsored by the American Family Association.

Fundraising: Super PACs and Broadening Donor Base

Governor Perry has been very successful at raising money in Texas: he was able to raise $40 million in the two years leading up to his gubernatorial re-election campaign in 2010, largely from a small base of wealthy donors who each contributed tens of thousands of dollars. But, Jason Embry of the Austin-American Statesman, wonders whether Perry will be able to be as successful under Federal fundraising rules that limit individual donations to $5,000 a person for each Presidential election cycle. Of course, Perry may not have to change his strategy all that much if his supporters create a super PAC, like supporters of Mitt Romney and President Obama have done. Super PACs are allowed to raise and contribute unlimited amounts of corporate and union money.  

In an effort to broaden his donor base (who could contribute directly to his campaign or to any super PAC that may be formed by Perry supporters), Perry has been speaking to groups of wealthy individuals in California, New York, and Colorado. Perry spoke last Sunday, June 27th, in Vail Colorado at a private event hosted by Charles and David Koch, influential conservative donors who have helped finance many Tea Party candidates.

Campaign Hurdles

There is much excitement surrounding a potential Perry candidacy, perhaps because of a lack of excitement over the rest of the field. But, a Perry candidacy does not a nomination make.

Matt Latimer, former deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush, blogs at The Daily Beast about the hurdles facing a possible Perry run for the Republican nomination. Drawing an analogy between  Perry’s anticipated late entry andFred Thompson’smuch-hyped but ultimately disappointing late entry into the 2008 Republican field, Latimer offers a few points of caution: don’t underestimate your enemies, namely the Bush family; don’t underestimate Washington opinion makers; don’t let the media vilify your spouse or family; and go easy on the cowboy stuff.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.