Having failed to rank among the top ten candidates in the most recent Fox News poll, Perry has has been relegated to the overflow debate being held at 5pm.
Since Perry was among the candidates jostling around the 10th place position, it wasn’t clear until yesterday whether he would make the cut. The news that he wouldn’t was, for many pundits, just one more piece of evidence for what appears to be the conventional wisdom: Perry’s presidential prospects are as grim as a snowball’s chance of surviving Texas in August.
I disagree. Perry’s non-inclusion in the main debate isn’t even proof of his current standing in the polls based on the margin of error; Sarah Rumpf explains the math, over at Breitbart. I would hardly call it a referendum on his candidacy. Of the ten candidates on the main stage, only seven strike me as “serious candidates” in the sense that they are sincerely running for the Republican presidential nomination (see my special bonus section below for an explanation). The cumulative talent is roughly the same on both stages. Looking at the field as it stands, with 17 declared candidates, I think Perry has a pretty good chance of ending up among the top three candidates after all the delegates are counted. And if I were to place a bet on the eventual nominee today, I’d put my money on him.