URBANDALE-One of the stops on Texas Governor Rick Perry’s latest visit to Iowa included a visit to the Republican Victory headquarters in Urbandale. That’s where the GOP campaigns are laying the groundwork for a successful election year. Perry’s mission was to motivate volunteers to remain engaged in the 2014 races, even if they think governor’s race is not close.
“I know you think he’s got a cakewalk and he probably does,” Perry said as Branstad smiled and nodded his head in disagreement. “The fact is, how he does is going to impact that United States Senate race. You realize that you have a great opportunity to make history. I can’t even remember back when Harkin wasn’t in it.”
Perry has frequently visited Iowa since his disappointing finish in the 2012 caucuses. Coming off major back surgery just six weeks earlier, Perry was not in top form when he entered the presidential race in August 2011. Now, he is more prepared, having learned from the mistakes of that campaign. If the Texas governor does run for president again 2016, he hopes the First-in-the-Nation caucus state will boast two Republican U.S. Senators.
“Even if (Branstad’s) 20 points ahead, pedal to the metal,” Perry told attendees. “Keep doing what you know will make a difference on turnout because there is nothing that would be more powerful for this country than a state that’s probably been purple, even blue at times, to be bright red and sending the message that we believe in freedom.”
A crowd of 75 volunteers, activists and GOP officials were on hand for Perry’s visit. He worked the room, shaking hands and posing for pictures with many of them. Then, during a 13-minute speech, the Texas governor heaped huge amounts of praise on Iowa’s chief executive.
“The future of our country is to make sure people like Terry are still in office,” Perry said. “I cannot tell you how important it is for you and for me to do everything we can.”
Governor Perry is also visiting early presidential primary states South Carolina and Florida soon to campaign for two more Republican governors up for reelection this year, Nikki Haley and Rick Scott.
“Those are the types of governors that I want to see in state capitols all across this country because when our states are competing against each other, whey they’re putting policies into place to make their state become more competitive, our country becomes stronger,” Perry said.
The high praise and admiration was mutual. Governor Branstad introduced Perry to the crowd, calling him a good friend. Branstad also spoke of the Texas governor’s many accomplishments in office.
“Next to me, Governor Perry has served the longest of the present governors. He’s served 14 years as the governor of Texas and look at the history of those 14 years. Texas used to be a Democratic state. It ain’t no more,” Branstad said to applause from the crowd. “Under Governor Perry’s leadership, they have led the country in terms of job growth and population growth and really a strong, diversified economy.”
During the 2012 campaign, Rick Perry often delivered speeches using a prepared script. He used no such prop on Thursday and his speech came across as more genuine and more energetic than some of his previous ones in Iowa.
For a fleeting moment, Rick Perry was the GOP presidential frontrunner during the fall of 2011. Now, looser, more prepared and healthier, Perry could emerge as a much stronger 2016 candidate.
Until that race begins in earnest, Governor Perry will work to help Republicans around the country win gubernatorial contests. This will be his final year as Texas’ chief executive. Perry feels confident Republican Greg Abbott will succeed him after dispatching pro-abortion Democrat Wendy Davis in the general election.
The Texas race is one of 37 governors’ seats on the ballot in 2014. Perry says he hopes a lot more Republicans like Terry Branstad emerge victorious this year.
“I think the future of America is with people like Terry Branstad,” Perry said.
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