Perry’s announcement date is a nod to straw poll organizers

(Photo by Patrick Michels)

A decision by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to make his formal announcement regarding 2012 at the same time as the Ames Straw Poll or, more importantly, to let it be known now that such comments are forthcoming, is not only strategic, but a direct nod to volunteers who have been beating the Iowa ground on his behalf, a Texas source close to the campaign told The Iowa Independent Monday.

“Of course there is strategic value in Governor Perry getting his name out there as a future confirmed candidate ahead of the straw poll, but that event is also non-binding — meaning it doesn’t contribute to the final scoreboard of who earns the GOP nomination for President,” the source said. “The more important thing about the timing is that it encourages and satisfies the many people who have been working Iowa on Governor Perry’s behalf as volunteers. It let’s them know they’re appreciated — and, who knows, maybe that translates into a straw poll, write-in upset.”

At the very least, the source said, there is little doubt that Perry will beat expectations as a write-in candidate and “that’s really all the straw poll is about.”

Earlier on Monday, The Politico reported two sources confirmed Perry will make his intentions known during a South Carolina appearance on Saturday before launching a trip into New Hampshire, followed later by Iowa.

The Iowa Independent source had not spoken with The Politico, but also confirmed the information.

Perry, the source said, has been able to convince a number of prominent Iowans to “keep their power dry” in the 2012 contest. It is widely believed that Perry, who appears to comfortably walk the line between fiscal and social conservatism, might be the unifying presence many in the GOP have found lacking in the current packed field of candidates.

If the Perry supporters are successful enough to make their chosen candidate a top-three finisher at the Ames Straw Poll, the news will likely over-shadow whomever the vote tally winner might be. But it remains unclear if strict supporters and activists of the Iowa GOP will take kindly to a campaign that did not contribute to a fundraising event yet earned a perceived boost in its aftermath; or if future candidates will remain inclined to continue to contribute to such an event after being shown an alternative path.

Americans for Perry volunteers have been attending Iowa gatherings throughout the state in hopes of persuading straw poll attendees to give Perry, who does not formally appear on the ballot, a write-in nod. News of a pending, positive announcement will only fuel their efforts in the final week before the contest.

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