Rick Perry's late entry into the Republican presidential race means the Texas governor will have to come out guns blazing as his GOP opponents start targeting him, as they did during last night's debate. Though he's not set to announce until tomorrow, he's already fashioned an election campaign staff, national talking points, and an aggressive fundraising presence. Here's a look at Perry's 2012 political machine:
His campaign staff Ross Ramsey and Jay Root at The Texas Tribune outline his campaign inner-circle that's beginning to take shape. It looks to be heavy on Texas insiders. "It will surprise no one that longtime strategist Dave Carney will remain in his role as Perry's top consultant, and that his 2010 gubernatorial campaign manager, Rob Johnson, is now going to play the same role as the Texas governor takes his ambitions nationwide," they write. "Deirdre Delisi, Perry's former chief of staff and currently serving as chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, will serve as chief policy wonk. Her exact title isn't clear yet."
The initial fundraising push Nick Confessore and Jim Rutenberg at The New York Times get a hold of a fundraising email sent to supporters with the the explicit declaration that "it is imperative this e-mail is not shared with anyone not a supporter of Governor Perry." According to the report, the Perry campaign is going to be busy holding "at least nine fund-raisers on the last three days in August and the first day of September: Six in Texas, two in Oklahoma, and one in New Orleans. A conference call for donors is scheduled for Tuesday." The email asks for early donations for a maximum impact. “On behalf of our team, we are very, very grateful. We are trying to get in the first million dollars of contributions very rapidly, to give the campaign its initial capital so important to get off the ground well. If you can send your own check in to us now, it will further that goal.”
A focus on mega-donors Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars at USA Today note that Perry's ability to lure in deep-pocketed donors is legendary. "More than 40% of Perry's campaign money since he became governor in 2000 has come from groups and wealthy individuals who donated $100,000 or more each," they write. "They include some of his party's biggest fundraisers, such as Houston billionaire home builder Bob Perry. No relation to the governor, he has donated nearly $2.5 million to Rick Perry's campaigns, records show. Texas law sets no limits on donations from individuals and political action committees." As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Perry's also met high-rollers on the national scene. This year, the RGA out-raised the Democratic Governors Association by 2-to-1.
His national talking points The Texas governor has already fashioned his primary talking point, reports CNN's Ashley Killough. It's job creation. He'll sell his status as the longest-serving governor in Texas, noting that his state has created more jobs than any other in the union. On New Hampshire television station WMUR yesterday he said "This country's begging for someone to lay out a vision of hope--real hope--and get America back working again," promising to implement low taxes, light regulation, and a legal system that "doesn't allow for over-suing." He added "I'll put that record up against anybody that's running, either on the Republican side or the Democratic side."