After Herman Cain suspended his campaign, Rick Perry reached out to Cain’s supporters with an open letter. In it, the governor claimed he is “truly the only Washington Outsider left in the race. I haven’t served a day in Washington — either in Congress or as part of an Administration.”
But as Richard Dunham at the Houston Chronicle reported, Perry’s campaign has probably sunk too low to benefit from Cain’s departure.
“It’s too late for Perry,” former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen told Dunham. “Even those who want to like Perry based on his positions or his Texas record can’t do it because he’s been such an incompetent candidate.”
Dunham noted that Perry hopes to turn things around in Iowa by sending a “Perry Posse” of campaign volunteers—including Attorney General Greg Abbott and Comptroller Susan Combs—to the state prior to the caucuses.
As Jason Embry of the Austin American-Statesman reported, “A number of Texas politicians and lobbyists, well aware that Perry still has three more years as governor if he loses, plan to attend and pay their own way.”
The idea would be to muster enough people to visit every single one of Iowa’s 1800 caucus locations on January 3.
“They won’t say it this way, but what Perry’s staffers and volunteers are really doing is trying to save his campaign,” Embry wrote.
That sort of skepticism can also be found at Red State, the blog which hosted the gathering where Perry announced his intent to run. Conservative editor-in-chief Erick Erickson said Perry ought to get a second chance, based on the fact that Newt Gingrich isn’t trusted by the right and Mitt Romney quoted David Brooks, the New York Times columnist. But Erickson is not sure that the Perry campaign has it in them.
Rightly or, I hope, wrongly, I get the impression they still think it is their race. I think they still think they are biding their time. I think they still think they are fighting Kay Bailey Hutchison. I think if they don’t wake up soon and shake up, they are toast.
Erickson also joins those who think that Perry’s gubernatorial ability in Texas would be greatly weakened by a presidential loss. Elizabeth Titus put a finer point on that idea in her story for the Texas Tribune and the New York Times‘ Texas Report. (Full disclosure: Texas Monthly provides cultural coverage for the New York Times’ Texas Report, which is produced by the Texas Tribune.)
Titus found that ten Congressional Republicans, including Hutchison and Senator John Cornyn, have yet to give Perry (or anyone, to be fair) their seal of approval. U.S. Representatives Bill Flores of Bryan and Kay Granger of Fort Worth have given the Perry campaign money, but not an actual endorsement. And U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold of Corpus Christi said that while he was inclined to endorse Perry, “you worry he’s not going to be able to pull it off.”