Rick Perry’s Final Days in Iowa
There are three weeks left until the Iowa Caucus, the 1st election in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. In an effort to turn his recent fortunes around, Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to embark on a 16-day bus tour of the state.
The caucuses are a different beast from primaries in Texas. There aren’t two weeks of early voting, followed by election day. People here have one shot at picking their candidate. For the 2012 election, that will take place at 7 p.m. on January 3rd.
“Which means that if you work 2nd shift, or the babysitter doesn’t show up, or the car breaks down or there’s a blizzard, you can’t participate because you have to be there at 7 o’clock,” Drake University politics professor Dennis Goldford said.
He said campaign organization is key to making sure a candidate’s supporters don’t fail to turn out. That means boots on the ground, and lists of supporters and people to call to make sure nobody stays home. But, “that being said, the traditional view about the caucuses is that you work, work, work and then get hot at the end,” Goldford added.
That’s where the strategy behind Gov. Perry’s bus tour comes in. A recent poll by the Des Moines Register ranked Perry 2nd among candidates voters want to see in the final days before the caucus. And the bus tour aims to deliver on that.
“Being on a bus in a state like Iowa, it just allows us to get to more stops and more places and allows people on the road,” Perry national campaign manager Rob Johnson said, “you’re driving down the road in Iowa and people honk and wave and there’s an excitement and an energy.”
It doesn’t hurt either that Perry is known for working a crowd. Brian Anderson lives near Waterloo, Iowa. He attended a Perry campaign event in Ames, Iowa Saturday. Anderson supports the governor and thinks this kind of barnstorming will go a long way to convincing others to join him.
“He gets a bad rap for debate performances and he’s going to have to overcome that,” Anderson said, “events like this, getting out with the voters, that’s what it’s going to take.”
Republican Renee Twedt from Story City, Iowa has doubts about a bus tour’s ability to drum up last minute fans. She was also in Ames and said quick stops at events, especially if they start late, ain’t going to cut it.
“Late punctuation, short speech, no questions. No, it won’t bring support.”
Twedt said it’s been a tough caucus year for her. She’s usually made up her mind by now. She hasn’t done that, but said she’s ready to cross Perry off her short list.