It looks like Rick Perry is solidifying his campaign team for his presidential run, as was announced today. People outside of the Lone Star state may find themselves responding with a resounding chorus of … “Who?”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday will announce top members of his presidential campaign staff, which this week moved into offices in a former steam laundry at Eighth and Congress Streets in downtown Austin…
His inner circle includes Rob Johnson, campaign manager; David Carney, chief strategist; Deirdre Delisi, policy and strategy director; Wayne Hamilton, political director; Ray Sullivan, communications director; Eric Bearse, deputy communications director; Mark Miner, national press secretary; Robert Black, travel press secretary; and Katherine Cesinger, state press director.
Perry said in a statement: “I am committed to turning our country back into the land of opportunity as the next president of the United States. … I look forward to working closely with this talented team of experts to take our message to the people of this country and get America working again.”
At least a first glance, a quick Google search of these staffers doesn’t turn up anything particularly eye-opening. The one thing which almost all of them have in common, though, is that they are all either previous Perry staffers from his successful electoral bids in Texas or members of the state GOP. The top positions of campaign manager, chief strategist and political director all come directly from Perry’s gubernatorial staff.
This stands as something of a contrast to previous frontrunners such as Michele Bachmann, to name only one example. When she went to the market looking for staff, she quickly snapped up Ed Rollins, a move which seemed to greatly enhance her prospects for a while. (At least until Perry jumped in.) Others have made similar moves. Of course, the possibility exists that a lot of the high dollar talent was already off the market by the time Perry tossed his hat in the ring.
Perry’s strategy can be looked at in two ways. On the one hand, there is always something to be said for sticking with the family – people you have known forever and have already gone to war with. They are trusted and you know their style. It eliminates the learning curve and the need to smooth over the rough edges. They’ve also proven themselves as winners, since Perry has yet to lose an election.
But this also has some potential pitfalls. That team’s joint experience is pretty much entirely from fighting on their home turf with a known set of demographics and relatively predictable constituency. In short, they’re used to playing small ball and will now find themselves thrust into a much larger pond. Fighting in the northeast, the west coast, the deep south and the mid-west are all very different scenarios than carrying Texas.
How well their experience will translate remains to be seen. But, if nothing else, loyalty shouldn’t be a question for Rick Perry in the months to come. It will be a tight ship and journos shouldn’t expect much in the way of leaks.