Rick Perry supporters seek space at Ames straw poll

Texas Gov. Rick Perry still hasn’t made a decision about whether to run for president, but his supporters say they intend to have an impact at the Aug. 13 straw poll in Ames, Iowa, regardless. Americans for Rick Perry is taking steps to secure a vendor spot at the poll, according to a quote from organizer Bob Schuman in The Des Moines Register (h/t Politico’s Alex Haberman).


The straw poll is a test of campaign strength and candidate popularity. It’s also a fundraiser for the Republican Party of Iowa.

Campaigns had one opportunity, on June 23, to buy a physical space on the straw poll campus, which guaranteed a right to address the audience from the main stage and locked in a line on the ballot.

Party rules don’t allow campaigns to buy spaces after that date.

Vendors and advocacy groups still can, but the purchase doesn’t mean a candidate will be allowed to speak or get a slot on the ballot. …

Americans for Rick Perry, a 527 independent expenditure group that’s unaffiliated with Perry, is raising money on Perry’s behalf while he contemplates a presidential bid.

Schuman flew to Iowa Wednesday and has met with Jenifer Bowen of Iowa Right to Life, Bob Vander Plaats of the Family Leader, Steve Scheffler of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition and others, he said.

Perry is expected to come to a decision about a potential bid for the presidency within the next few weeks. If Perry does announce, he should fare well in Iowa. Not only have Southerners typically done well there in the past, but he’ll boast both economic and evangelical appeal — which could make for a pretty irresistible combination in a state like Iowa.

The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty highlights another important Perry advantage, one that arguably could carry him through both the primaries and the general election:


At a time when the Republican Party is being pulled between its establishment and insurgent forces, Perry has the potential to appeal to both.

He is currently the nation’s longest-serving governor, and the longest in Texas history, as well as head of the Republican Governors Association. But his brash, unapologetic conservatism also has elevated him to near-hero status among the tea party. Perry was one of the first big-name politicians to recognize the potential of the movement, headlining no fewer than three of their earliest rallies in Texas on April 15, 2009.

But Perry is supposedly still trying to settle logistical issues. Does he have enough time and money to put together a compelling campaign? On that score, surely it bodes well that, even when he doesn’t do something (e.g. buy space at the Ames straw poll), his most loyal fans will do it for him.

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