Last Friday, former Texas Governor Rick Perry told the media that he would be making a campaign announcement on June 4th. The next day Perry spoke at a Linn County GOP luncheon, the beginning of a five-day swing through the state. Later in the afternoon Perry was the guest speaker for Daniel Rosenthal’s Court of Honor. . Daniel was being awarded his rank of Eagle Scout and is the son of Eric Rosenthal, a long time Republican activists from Linn County.
Perry’s approach to Iowa couldn’t be any more different than what it was in 2011 when he first came to the state late in the summer and was widely regarded as an instant frontrunner for the Republican nomination. Everything Perry did was big, and his late start meant that there wasn’t much time to do the little things that build bonds with Iowa Republicans.
Perry now realizes the error of his ways. In a recent interview, Perry admitted that his back surgery meant that he was tired, medicated, and not on the top of his game back in 2012. “People are seeing a completely different individual than they did three-in-a-half years ago when we parachuted into Iowa the day after the Straw Poll,” Perry told TheIowaRepublican.com in a radio interview on WTAD AM 930 recently. “Frankly, we were not healthy, and we were not prepared. I admit that. I was arrogant thinking that having been the Governor of Texas for 12 years that I was ready to climb any mountain.”
Perry was bitter following his fifth place finish in Iowa. “This is quirky place and a quirky process to say the least,” Perry told the Associated Press of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. “We’re going to go into places where they have actual primaries and there are going to be real Republicans voting.” It would have been easy for Perry to remain cynical about Iowa, but instead, he has embraced Iowa and the type of campaigning that Iowans expect to see from presidential candidates every four years.
Perry has spent the past three years visiting Iowa, in part, to convince Iowa caucus goers that he’s deserving of another chance. While Perry has been well received, he has also been willing to put in a lot of hard work. Perry is in the midst of a four-day, nine-stop swing that covers a large portion of the state. In Holstein, a town of 1,400 in Ida County in Northwest Iowa, Perry drew a crowd of 110 people at the Veterans Memorial Hall for a town hall meeting.
In addition to working hard, Perry’s team has also found ways to help give back while also underscoring his military background and his commitment to the men and women that serve our country. Perry is confirmed to attend Sen. Joni Ernst’s first annual Roast and Ride on June 6th, but he’s going to start his day with Marcus Luttrell, Morgan Luttrell, and Taya Kyle headlining a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation in Perry, Iowa. The Puppy Jake Foundation trains and places service dogs to assist wounded veterans. From there, Governor Perry will meet up with the riders that are headed to Boone for the Ernst event later that day.
The valuable lessons that Perry learned from his 2012 campaign are making him a much better candidate this time around. He may now find himself in the role of the underdog, but Perry has seemed to embrace it. While some may be quick to write him off because of his “oops” moment from a Fox News debate in 2012, Perry still possesses an impressive record as governor, and he’s now been fully vetted.
Perry is benefitting from having gone through the gauntlet before. It’s abundantly clear that he now understands what a candidate should be doing in a state like Iowa. It is a luxury that many first time presidential candidates don’t enjoy. One of the things I often hear about Perry is people wondering what would have happened if we had seen this year’s Perry in Iowa back in 2011.
I think it’s safe to say that the race would have been completely different. It’s telling that Perry always has some people pondering the “what might have been” question. It’s an indication that what he’s doing in 2015 is working.
TheIowaRepublican.com asked Bob Haus, Perry’s chief Iowa strategist, how Perry’s campaign swing in Northwest Iowa was going. Haus said, “The farm boy is working till the cows come home. Coming to cattle calls alone won’t get the work done.” While the Ida County stop was by far the largest event of the day for Perry, he also had solid crowds earlier in the day in Sioux Center and Le Mars.
Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com
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