Will the Republican candidates for Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat still be clamoring for Rick Perry's approval after the governor's poor showing in the Iowa Republican presidential caucus?
Of course. He's still the governor, with all those in-state fundraising and political connections. Hours before the words "fifth place" were ever uttered on Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst released an online ad with Perry's comments from an Iowa campaign appearance Monday.
As Jason Embry of the Austin American-Statesman noted, Perry all but endorsed the lite guv, saying, in reference to the U.S. Senate, "which David soon will be a member of, Lord willing...," and suggesting that Dewhurst could plan to co-sponsor a Senate bill repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Dewhurst, who is considered the frontrunner over former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, and former college football star and ESPN broadcaster Craig James, didn't stop there. His personal Twitter account retweeted the Texas Tribune 's link to its piece about the online ad, then paid for it to have "promoted tweet" status atop the hashtag #iacaucus.
Austin YNN reporter Jeff Stensland was unamused by this. "Trying to follow #iacaucus," he tweeted, "but a tweet paid for by David Dewhurst keeps topping my search. #frustrating."
Meanwhile, in an unfortunate coincidence, Craig James also released a Perry-heavy online campaign video, albeit without the benefit of Perry's actual approval. The governor's face is the first one featured in the clip, before even James himself.
"Rick Perry changed Texas. Cut waste. Reduced taxes. Put people back to work," James says. "And that's just what I'll do in Washington. Like Rick Perry, and like you, I know that America can get back on track by getting back to the values that made us great. I'm Craig James, and I approved this ad, because I believe in America!"
The Twitter parody account @SenatorJames was quick to note the dissonance, while referencing James' infamous unpopularity with college football fans:
Awkward that I used Rick Perry for my commercial after he endorsed my opponent? HELL NO, I always misinform my viewers.