Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rick Perry Officially Enters the Race

At long last, Rick Perry has formally entered the race for the Republican nomination. As Elephant Watcher predicted back in June, Perry timed his entry to just barely avoid the August debate and the Ames straw poll, and thereby overshadow both. Perry's candidacy will become the central focus of the primary for some time to come. The Campaign Status page has been updated for the first time since Huntsman's entry. Now all that remains is for Sarah Palin and Chris Christie to make formal announcements about their intentions--which they may not do.

Perry's mission is to fill the vacuum that has long existed in the Republican field: He wants to unify the Republican establishment and the Tea Party wings of the Republican Party. While Christie could do the job easily, Perry will struggle, as there are real concerns about his ability to win the general election. The Republican establishment will likely come to a consensus about what they think of Perry during the coming weeks. Is he the savior of the Party, or is he just another George W. Bush?

Perry's campaign strategy is to win Iowa and South Carolina, leaving New Hampshire to Mitt Romney. Thus, Perry will do battle with the likes of Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, who lack perceived electability even more than Perry does. While Perry may not be as electable as Tim Pawlenty, he will certainly take away some of Pawlenty's electability argument. Perry is another candidate who must self-destruct in order for Pawlenty to win.

While Perry does not have much in the way of rhetorical skill or charisma, neither does most of the rest of the field: Christie is not in the race (yet), and Mike Huckabee bowed out back in May. Perry will attempt to use his "tough" demeanor to make up the difference.

Elephant Watcher has added Perry to the roster of candidates and recalculated each candidate's odds of winning the nomination. As Perry's entry fundamentally shakes up the race, a detailed explanation of his effect on the odds will come in a later post.

News posts related to Perry will have the Perry "tag". For detailed assessment of Perry's strengths, weaknesses, and strategy, view his Profile. Elephant Watcher calculates Perry has a 14% chance of winning the nomination.