Rick Perry Goes to Bat for GOP Governors, Hits Iowa as 2016 Beckons
Around the State
As he considers making a second bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is starting to go to bat for his fellow GOP governors and is testing the waters in Iowa, home of the first caucus.
Perry was in Iowa this week, meeting longtime Gov. Terry Branstad. Despite his appearance in the Hawkeye State, Perry said he is not focusing on a second presidential campaign.
While he says his focus is on leading Texas and helping Republican governors in 2014, Perry is testing the waters in Iowa. On Thursday, Perry met with Iowa conservatives who are active with Americans for Prosperity and spoke at the Polk County GOP’s dinner.
Perry remains active with the Republican Governors Association as the 2014 elections loom. On Thursday, Perry spoke with the media on Gov. Rick Scott’s bid for a second term against former Gov. Charlie Crist. Perry praised Scott and offered harsh words for Crist, a former Republican who is now running as a Democrat.
Asked about Gov. Chris Christie’s big re-election win in New Jersey, Perry had kind words for a potential Republican rival in 2016. “Congratulations to him for maintaining New Jersey in the red column,” Perry said.
Besides Scott, Perry singled out Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, yet another possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, for praise.
Perry is not running again for another term in 2014, ending the longest tenure of any governor of the Lone Star State. He assumed the office after George W. Bush left Austin to become president.
But Perry’s stock has diminished in his home state after his gaffe-ridden late entry into the 2012 presidential contest. Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a survey of Texas Republicans this week which shows Perry has been nudged aside by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as the favorite son of the 2016 Republican contest.
Cruz commands the support of almost a third of Texas Republicans -- 32 percent -- to be their presidential candidate, while Christie ties former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida for second with 13 percent. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., garners 10 percent followed by Jindal with 6 percent. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are knotted up with 5 percent each while Perry lags in the back of the pack in his home state with 3 percent, tying him with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The poll also finds only 15 percent of all Texas voters think Perry should run again for the presidency while 73 percent think he should not try again. Still the poll does show Perry would do well in a Republican primary against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who is up in 2014. Perry takes 46 percent in a possible Republican primary match-up while Cornyn follows with 35 percent.
The poll of 500 Texas voters was taken from Nov. 1-4 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The poll of 388 Texas Republicans was taken during the same period and had a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.