Perry surprised most pundits on Wednesday when he announced that he is staying in the race. The Texas governor sent out a Tweet in which he revealed he was headed to South Carolina to campaign there.
A Rasmussen Reports poll of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters released on Friday finds Perry has some serious catching up to do in the Palmetto State. Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts leads in the poll but he’s hearing the footsteps of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
Having held Santorum off by the skin of his teeth in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday, winning by eight votes, Romney takes 27 percent in the poll, followed by Santorum with 24 percent. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich takes third with 18 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in fourth with 11 percent. Perry takes a distant fifth place, with 5 percent, while former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah garners 2 percent.
The poll of 750 likely South Carolina primary voters was taken Jan. 5 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Looking to turn things around, Perry unveiled a commercial on Friday that will be hitting South Carolina television stations in the days to come. In the ad, Perry offers a biographical sketch, playing up his roots in Texas and noting his service in the military
"As the son of tenant farmers from the West Texas town of Paint Creek, I learned the values of hard work, faith and family,” Perry says in the ad. "I took those values with me when I served our country as a pilot in the Air Force. I returned home to farm and ranch with my father and married my high school sweetheart. The values I learned served me well as governor of Texas, and will continue to guide me as president.”
Ray Sullivan, Perry’s communications director, insisted on Friday that his candidate was an ideal match for conservative South Carolina.
"This TV ad highlights Governor Perry's perfect-for-South-Carolina status as a principled conservative, man of faith and proud military veteran," Sullivan said. "Rick Perry is the only conservative candidate with the organization, conservative record and outsider credentials to shake up Washington and get our nation working again."
The campaign also looked to play up his conservative credentials and focus on South Carolina In an email sent out to supporters late on Thursday.
“Our South Carolina Chairman Katon Dawson had this to say about the race, ‘South Carolina is not going to let Iowa pick the nominee!’ I couldn’t agree more. I plan on winning South Carolina,” Perry wrote in the email.
“When I got into this race I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but our country is heading in the wrong direction and someone needed to put her back on track,” Perry added. “Reckless spending by Washington insiders is bankrupting our country and saddling future generations of Americans with unnecessary debt.”
Perry hammered his Republican rivals, insisting they backed similar policies to President Barack Obama’s.
“While my opponents share Barack Obama’s love for big-government policies, I have reduced government and balanced six budgets in Texas,” Perry maintained. “This race is incredibly fluid and let’s make no mistake about it: I am the only conservative in the race ... We will win South Carolina and take a giant step toward sending President Obama back to Chicago.”
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