Austin | Dallas | Houston
Beating a dead campaign

Rick Perry grabs the tea party torch: South Carolina is his Alamo

Enlarge
Slideshow
News_Rick Perry_jogging
The governor remarks in this pic: "And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State...Here we come South Carolina!!!" Photo via Yfrog.com
News_Rick Perry_jogging
News_Michele Bachmann_speaking
News_Rick Perry_smiling

Following a less-than-stellar showing at the Iowa caucus Tuesday, Governor Rick Perry returned to his home state of Texas to reevaluate his presidential campaign.

And although he canceled plans following the caucus to travel straight to the South Carolina primary, Perry used his most-controversial medium, Twitter, to rebuff rumors Wednesday that he planned to drop out of the race.

Perry posted a photo of himself jogging with the caption that he was on his way to South Carolina, and his campaign quickly confirmed to CNN that "we're back on." Perry's announcement came just on the heels of Michele Bachmann's resignation Wednesday, which she tendered after coming in dead last at the Iowa caucus with just five percent of the vote.

Perry himself didn't do much better, paying an estimated $6 million in media spending for just 10 percent of the votes and a fifth-place finish.

But apparently South Carolina republicans talked him into staying the course. According to the The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC:

Former South Carolina GOP chair Katon Dawson said he spoke to Perry this morning about the need for him to continue to fight.

"Iowa picks corn. New Hampshire picks campaign's pockets. South Carolina picks Republican presidents," Dawson said. "Our field staff was putting up 4 by 8s (campaign signs) at the crack of day this morning. They're not to quit."

Perry in fact kicked off his campaign in Charleston last August and he is playing a card straight out of George W. Bush's deck. Back in 2000, John McCain trounced Bush in New Hampshire, but Bush came screaming back with a huge win in South Carolina. That win created the momentum he needed to take the White House back for the Republicans. Of course the difference this year is that Bush won Iowa — big — with 41 percent of the vote while McCain barely competed there.

Rick Perry is no George Bush. Bush had name recognition and a folksy manner that was disarming, he also managed to avoid the pratfalls Perry has made part and parcel of his campaign. If Perry wants to throw good money after bad that's his choice of course, but the money will soon stop rolling in and Perry is no longer relevant.

There is one reason for Perry to stay in the race as discussed by republican political columnist Erick Erickson on redstate.com:

If Rick Perry drops out of the race it will be the ultimate failure of the tea party movement to see the race come down to two or three big government conservatives. Romney and Santorum both hide behind compassionate conservatism to expand the state to suit their purposes. Only Rick Perry has run a campaign to make Washington “as inconsequential to our lives as possible.

"If I were Perry, I’d wake up tomorrow, say I refuse to surrender the Republican Party into the hands of big government conservatives after all the gains the tea party has made, and then announce I’m firing all my political staffers and communications staffers and ask South Carolina to help me reboot to victory. Make it an Alamo stand and, if like at the Alamo Perry goes down, perhaps there’ll at least be a rallying cry for small government conservatism left over."

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Austin news, views + events

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address