Texas Governor Rick Perry’s decision to announce his candidacy in South Carolina at the same time the Iowa Straw Poll is taking place in Ames is not only a slap in the face to Republican voters in Iowa, but it also is disrespectful to the Iowa GOP and the other candidates seeking the nomination.
The move makes it obvious that Governor Perry either doesn’t understand the Iowa caucuses or doesn’t respect the role that Iowa plays in the nominating process. We shouldn’t be surprised. The candidate he endorsed for president in 2008, Rudy Giuliani, never could figure out Iowa either.
The road map to the nomination for Perry is very simple. If he wins Iowa and South Carolina, he’s probably the nominee. His decision to announce his candidacy in a manner that attempts to pull some of the spotlight away from Ames and the Iowa caucuses will not sit well with Iowa activists.
Stealing some of the media attention away from the Straw Poll and the candidates that are participating on Saturday may seem like a savvy thing to do, but it comes at a high price. Perry now risks alienating the very people he needs to support him in order to win the nomination. It also seems arrogant to think that he can steal the some of the spotlight from Ames. National members of the media are already in Iowa to cover the lead up to the straw poll and Thursday night’s Fox News Debate. Perry is basically going to attempt inject himself in to the national news story, but his speech and entrance into the race will not match the excitement of Ames.
The RedState gathering in Charleston, South Carolina, takes place from Friday through Sunday. Perry could have arranged his schedule to announce either before or after the Straw Poll. Iowans won’t forget this.
Perry is acting as if he is the 800-pound gorilla that is about to enter the race, but he’s not. He has a great resume and looks the part, but the TIR poll conducted in late June showed him at only eight percent in Iowa. Perry’s decision to forgo competing in the Fox News debate and the straw poll is also a sign of weakness, not one of strength and conviction.
Iowa Republicans are looking for a leader who is willing to answer the call and step up to the plate. The candidates in Ames didn’t wait to see if there was an opening for them in the race. They stood up and answered the call.
To win the caucuses and ultimately win the Republican nomination, Perry needs Iowa. Perry has found a way make Iowa more difficult than it needs to be. Ironically, Perry has done a better job of insulting Iowa Republicans than Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have done by just avoided the state.
I have always said that Iowans will take seriously those candidates who take us seriously. It appears that Governor Perry doesn’t even respect us, let alone take us seriously.
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