It has become a question of when, not if Texas Gov. Rick Perry will announce his 2012 presidential campaign, according to political insiders in Austin.
The cowboy-emulating governor received some monetary encouragement recently from supporters who raised $400,000 over the course of three weeks in an attempt to convince him to throw his Stetson hat into the ring, and he recently attended a meeting of fundraising heavyweights hosted by the influential Koch brothers. Backers are hoping to capitalize on a still murky Republican field, with voters unenthusiastic about de facto frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gove. Mitt Romney and wary about Minnesota-based U.S. Rep Michele Bachmann's lack of experience.
My belief is he will run, Austin lawyer Bill Crocker, general counsel to the Republican National Committee and a Perry friend, told Reuters. We need somebody who can win. He is easily the most attractive campaigner we've got.
Perry's fiscal conservatism gains him instant appeal to Tea Party voters, and his devout Christianity would no doubt help him in the evangelical-heavy Iowa caucus. He has also been able to tout Texas' strong economic growth, something that could be key in an election likely to center around unemployment numbers and President Barack Obama's economic stewardship.
The last thing anybody should do is underestimate his campaign skills, Texas House Democrat Garnet Coleman of Houston told Reuters. His only objective is to strengthen himself politically, and he's not afraid to do or say something controversial if it brings him a bigger audience.