Politico reported yesterday that Texas Governor Rick Perry is inching closer toward announcing his GOP presidential bid. In addition to chronicling trips that the governor has recently made to California and Colorado to meet with potential donors, Politico also reports that Perry has reached out to various Republican strategists in key battleground states like Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. While Perry himself said at a conference over the past weekend that his decision will come in the next three to four weeks, many pundits are already sizing up his chances against the current field of candidates.
Perry, a favorite among social conservatives, has made a strong impression on Iowans, who recently began a group called “Americans for Rick Perry,” reports The New York Times. Though the group is only a month old, it has already raised more than $400,000 for the governor’s nascent campaign. While most donations average $1,500 per individual, several contributors have reportedly donated amounts in the “tens of thousands.”
Today’s USA Today features a headline that many hope will become the centerpiece of Perry’s campaign: “Need a job? Move to Texas.” Perry has overseen extensive job growth in his home state: Between June 2009 and June 2011, Texas added 262,000 jobs to its economy, and its unemployment rate currently falls below the national average of 8 percent. But many of his critics point to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which indicate that the bulk of these newly created jobs pay minimum-wage rate or below. Detractors argue that these low-paying jobs have only served to facilitate the widening gap between the rich and the poor in the Lone Star State.
Regardless, strong support for a Perry candidacy is now becoming more apparent — it’s just a matter of seeing if and when he’ll jump into the fray.