[Posted by Erick Ericson] I realize this will get me locked in as a “Perry shill,” but the more I think about this race, the more I think Rick Perry still has one of the clearest paths to victory. Look at the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. Pretty much every bit of Perry’s fall went to candidates not named Romney — in particular to Herman Cain. Of all the candidates not named Romney, Perry is the only one with (A) substantial cash on hand and (B) a continued ability to raise substantial sums from an existing network of donors. He has the largest staff in Iowa. He has not yet released his jobs plan, his energy plan, his foreign policy plan, etc. That means more exposure over the coming month in free media. Republican primary voters clearly do not want Mitt Romney and are judging alternatives. If Cain collapses again and Newt can’t get traction, the odds are those votes rebound to Perry, not Romney. And with a compressed calendar, Perry remains the only non-Romney with the money to compete. Perry must (A) deal with the immigration issue effectively as that remains a serious sore spot with primary voters and (B) get people back into a comfort level with him — easier said than done. But if he can, he has the money to compete and Romney’s question to Bachmann is a clear indicator the Romney campaign knows consolidation of the field is still possible and would work against Romney. * * * * I am definitely not a Perry shill, and I think this is a plausible scenario for a Perry victory. Money + ideology is what it takes to win the Republican nomination, and Perry has both. As I wrote in an earlier post today, anybody who counts Perry out is not paying attention to history.