The Big Conversation:
Gov. Rick Perry's fundraising numbers may have just pulled him back from the brink.
At the very least, Perry's $17 million haul for the latest fundraising quarter, which his campaign announced Wednesday, proved that despite the pummeling he has taken lately, he's still in the game.
"At this stage in the pre-primary phase, everything is perception, and the guy has had a pretty lousy week and a half," Dennis Johnson, a professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management, told the Austin American-Statesman. "What this will do is hopefully reassure people who are giving him money, mostly, that he is still a viable candidate."
To some, the impressive haul signaled that Perry — who has dropped precipitously in polls after a series of uneven debate performances — is more than simply viable.
"We’re 90 days out from the first ballot being cast, and I don’t know whether Romney can seal the deal," Jeff Ballabon, a major Republican fundraiser who is backing Perry, told Politico. “But $17 million in seven weeks from 20,000 in 50 states just said loud and clear that Perry can."
Romney, who hasn't yet reported his fundraising totals, is said to have raised $11 to $13 million during the same quarter. But his supporters note that he raised more than $18 million in his first quarter and looks likelier than Perry to net the financial backing of major Republican donors in the Northeast who'd been holding out for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to enter the race. Ken Langone, the founder of Home Depot and one such donor, endorsed Romney on Tuesday; Paul Singer, another influential former Christie backer, just did the same.
How much momentum the numbers give Perry remains in doubt, but they at least indicate that the race won't be over any time soon.
“No one is going to win this nomination pretty,” one conservative told Politico.
- The Houston Chronicle has a list of seven things Rick Perry needs to do to turn his campaign around. Among the tips: raise lots of money (check), vanquish Herman Cain and destroy Ron Paul.
- State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, has raised more than $500,000 for his 2012 congressional race, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Though Castro's haul will probably trail that of his likely Democratic primary challenger, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who last reported more than $3 million on hand, the number has put the longtime congressman from Austin on the defensive. “It’s no surprise that Republicans are willing to give lots of money against me," Doggett said in a statement. The Statesman also reported Wednesday that state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, has drawn a primary challenger.
- The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday unanimously voted to reverse a Houston man's capital murder conviction and life sentence on the grounds that a trial judge had excluded expert witness testimony that cast doubt on the eyewitness identification process, The Dallas Morning News reports. The "remarkable" ruling, as Grits for Breakfast describes it, means Texas courts may soon be hearing more testimony about witnesses' fallibility.
"I've been hearing from them in the last couple of hours, but I believe that they, when they take a step back, will understand why the decision was made and understand that, really, you don’t need a title to make a difference in this country." — Sarah Palin, who announced Wednesday that she's not running for president, on phone calls she has received from 2012 hopefuls
- Herman Cain Is a Candidate Writing His Own Campaign Rules, The New York Times
- Thousands expected today at Occupy Austin rally, Austin American-Statesman
- All Quiet on the Southern Front, The New York Times
- Multimedia: Parsing Perry's Past on Race, The Texas Tribune