…and that’s not just the word of any Joe on the street, that’s a big shot in New Hampshire GOP politics:
“His obvious disgust for the federal government makes him attractive to the tea party-aligned voters here,” Andrew Hemingway, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Liberty Caucus, told RCP.
As the nation’s longest-serving governor, Perry could also boast of having the executive experience and record of achievement in government that some of the other tea party-backed candidates in the field may lack.
Perry is Barbour’s successor as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and was also enthusiastically endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in his 2010 primary fight against Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
With Perry’s history of straddling the establishment and tea party wings of the party, Hemingway offered a bold prediction for the unique assets that the Texas governor could bring to the table in New Hampshire. “I think ultimately Rick Perry is a candidate who secures Haley Barbour’s money with Sarah Palin’s endorsement,” he said.
Hmmm… Iowa… New Hampshire… and a Texan should do fairly well in South Carolina…
I think he’s running.
It certainly sounds like he’s considering jumping in…
Rick Perry has started calling Iowa Republicans and a former RNC finance chairman is helping to convene a meeting of national donors later this month in Austin to discuss financing a potential 2012 campaign — signs that the Texas governor and his allies are stepping up their exploratory efforts.
The developments come as Perry is being watched by a string of donors, early-state voters and elites who say they’re disenchanted, and in search of a stronger candidate.
Republican activist Joni Scotter told POLITICO she got a surprise phone call this afternoon from Perry, asking about the political landscape as it relates to him.
“It was just a surprise,” said Scotter, of Marion, who’s well-known for her frequent appearances at Iowa Republican events and is a coveted worker bee on presidential campaigns. She said she didn’t know how Perry got her number.
“He sounded great and just asked if he should run,” she said. “And I said, of course.” She said he said he hadn’t made up his mind.
A Perry entry into the Hawkeye State would almost certainly shake up the race… he’d probably suck a lot of support from various contenders, perhaps even causing some of them to decide not to continue.
I’m still in “popcorn mode”–meaning that I’m sitting back and watching the fireworks before deciding who to back–but Perry definitely has my interest.