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Perry's Super PAC Lands Seasoned GOP Pollster

The super PAC supporting former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's expected presidential candidacy has hired Glen Bolger, one of the Republican Party's leading pollsters, as a senior strategist and pollster.

By Philip Rucker, The Washington Post
Former Gov. Rick Perry addresses the National Rifle Association's annual meeting Friday in Nashville. He used the speech to say the 2016 presidential  election will not be about "lofty rhetoric."

The super PAC supporting former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's expected presidential candidacy has hired Glen Bolger, one of the Republican Party's leading pollsters, as a senior strategist and pollster.

Bolger is a seasoned veteran of many gubernatorial and Senate campaigns who also served as a super PAC pollster in the 2012 presidential campaign. He is joining the Opportunity and Freedom PAC to promote Perry's likely bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, according to Austin Barbour, a senior adviser to the group.

"Glen is in the very, very top tier of Republican pollsters and political strategists in the country," Barbour said in an interview. "It's a huge deal for us to have Glen become a part of our team. He sees the same path for Gov. Perry that all of us do, in terms of favorability with voters and political ideology."

Since his humiliating loss in the 2012 presidential campaign, Perry has been methodically and exhaustively preparing for redemption in 2016. He has held lengthy tutorials with conservative scholars to become better versed on domestic and foreign policy issues and logged thousands of miles on the road meeting with activists in Iowa and other early caucus and primary states.

In recent polls, however, Perry has continued to lag behind a half dozen or more declared or likely candidates.

Barbour said that Bolger agreed to join the super PAC because "he sees that Gov. Perry is ready. He sees a different person than he was in 2011 and 2012 — he’s healthy, he’s rested, he’s uber-prepared from a policy side.”

Bolger is a partner and co-founder of Virginia-based Public Opinion Strategies, one of the national GOP's leading polling firms. Another of the firm's partners and co-founders is Neil Newhouse, who is poised to work for Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting former Florida governor Jeb Bush's likely candidacy.

This would not be the first campaign cycle in which Bolger and Newhouse would work independently. In 2012, Newhouse served as Mitt Romney's campaign pollster while Bolger did polling for Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, as well as the pro-GOP American Crossroads super PAC.

Bolger has worked for scores of gubernatorial, Senate and House campaigns over the years. In 2014, he polled for Sen. Thom Tillis, who ran a high-profile race in North Carolina, and Sen. Mike Rounds in South Dakota. He worked on Sen. Pat Roberts' campaign team for the final three weeks of what was an unexpectedly close reelection race in Kansas.

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Politics 2016 elections Rick Perry