The Big Conversation:
Conventional wisdom says Rick Perry would have no trouble finding fans in Iowa. But what about in New Hampshire?
The first primary of the campaign season, set to take place on Feb. 14, 2012, eight days after the Iowa caucuses, would present an interesting conundrum for Perry, should he decide to run.
In Iowa, the thinking goes, Perry would court the social conservatives who dominate GOP caucus turnout. He'd likely vie for such supporters with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Tea Party favorite whom a Des Moines Register poll recently showed virtually tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, still regarded as the front-runner for the nomination.
But New Hampshire could pose a unique challenge for Perry, whose Texas swagger, as RealClearPolitics ponders, could be a tough sell in this northeastern state, which in 2000 voted for John McCain over George W. Bush by 19 points.
But Dave Carney, Perry's top political adviser, tells RCP that geography doesn't have anything to do with it. "Some of the southerners who've run campaigns here have run lousy campaigns," he says.
Nor has New Hampshire necessarily shied away from conservative candidates: In the 1996 primary, the state supported firebrand Pat Buchanan over eventual GOP nominee Bob Dole. This campaign season, Perry's anti-Washington message could resonate with voters who hold fast to the state's "live free or die" mantra.
One of Perry's biggest hurdles, RCP notes, may come in the small-scale campaigning candidates must master — and with which Perry has had little experience since taking statewide office two decades ago.
The good news for the governor: He's already got money coming in that would help with such efforts. Americans for Rick Perry, a new federal super PAC unaffiliated with the governor, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission this week, as the Tribune's Ross Ramsey reported Thursday.
Also, a recent WMUR New Hampshire poll put Perry's support at 4 percent, ahead of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.
Not bad for a candidate who's not even officially a candidate yet.
- A high-profile death row case that drew intense international furor, and the attention of the Obama administration, ended Thursday night with the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal Jr. Though the Obama adminstration took the unusual step of pleading for a stay, the Supreme Court and Gov. Rick Perry denied a reprieve to Leal, who, his lawyers argued, was never informed of his right to seek legal assistance from the Mexican consultate. The Houston Chronicle reports that Leal used his last words to apologize for the murder he committed. "I have hurt a lot of people. Let this be final and be done. I take the full blame for this. I am sorry and forgive me, I am truly sorry," adding, "One more thing: Viva México. Viva México."
- With her seat decimated by Republicans during the legislative session, state Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, announced Thursday that she would not move into the newly redrawn House District 40 to challenge Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, the Rio Grande Guardian reports. Though Gonzales said she could still run in the new Republican district into which she was drawn, the Guardian notes that her announcement sounded to some like a farewell.
- State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, on Thursday kicked off his congressional campaign, in which he'll challenge U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, for the Democratic nomination in a district Republicans redrew this year to target the longtime congressman.
"It's open for anybody. If you're trying to convince people that you're the guy to compete against Obama, you have to play everywhere you can." — Dave Carney, adviser to Gov. Rick Perry, to RealClearPolitics on the governor's chances in New Hampshire
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