Perry campaign death watch? Perry stops paying his staffers
Make your bets now on how much longer Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign will go. He never recovered from his “Oops!” brain-freeze moment four years ago when he came to the campaign amid great punditry hype declaring him a power house that had only seen in the cases of President Rudy Giuliani and President Fred Thompson. He fizzled, later said it was due to being on back medication so he resurfaced this presidential cycle with big glasses that made him look more thoughtful, delivered some well received speeches — and at last week’s debate was at the Fox News “Children’s Table,” of GOP Oval Office hopefuls who didn’t make the main event debate. He reportedly committed a minor gaffe in talking about “President Raven” but that was a blooper not a brain freeze.
But now Rick Perry’s campaign is running out of money:
Former Texas governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is no longer paying its staff because fundraising has dried up, while his cash-flush allied super PAC is preparing to expand its political operation to compensate for the campaign’s shortcomings, campaign and super PAC officials and other Republicans familiar with the operation said late Monday.
Perry, who has struggled to gain traction in his second presidential run, has stopped paying his staff at the national headquarters in Austin as well as in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to a Republican familiar with the Perry campaign who demanded anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller told staff last Friday, the day after the first Republican presidential debate, that they would no longer be paid and are free to look for other jobs — and, so far at least, most aides have stuck with Perry — according to this Republican.
“As the campaign moves along, tough decisions have to be made in respect to both monetary and time related resources,” Miller said in a statement. “Governor Perry remains committed to competing in the early states and will continue to have a strong presence in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.”
If the fundraising has dried up, even with super PAC money, its likely that in a few months Perry will be an also ran. There’s no huge groundswell from him, no massive positive or (which works better apparently) negative mainstream media buzz. He seems less a person who’s on the ascent or descent than a person trying to redeem himself from an image that made him a punchline. It’s more likely that in a year or so he’ll wind up a paid contributor on Fox News.
Fundraising was never supposed to be the chief question about Perry, especially after he raised more than $20 million for his 2012 race. He has been laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign almost since the moment he quit four years ago: studying up, meeting with foreign policy advisers, and honing policy positions. He even began wearing much-commented-upon new glasses. “The last 20 months,” Perry told National Journal last year, “have been spent in a fairly intensive prep mode on all the big issues that face the commander in chief of this country.”
But Perry has struggled to redefine himself following that disastrous 2012 campaign, which saw him finish in fifth in Iowa. The race was punctuated by Perry’s painful debate lapse when he forgot the name of a government agency he would eliminate. “Oops,” he said on stage.
In 2016, Perry has so far has been defined by the debate stage he missed. He finished 11th in the Fox News’ polling average last week, when only the top 10 were allowed into the prime-time debate. Instead, Perry had to compete in a 5 p.m. show derided as the “B-list” or “kiddie-table” debate before an empty arena in Cleveland. And even then, political newcomer Carly Fiorina eclipsed him.
Watch Fiorina. She is to an asecending star to what Perry is to a descending star.
Perry had tried desperately to make it onto the main stage. In Iowa, his super PAC spent more than $1 million on radio and TV ads hoping that boosting his poll numbers there might ricochet into news coverage nationally. No dice: The numbers didn’t budge, even as the only competition on the airwaves came from Jindal, who also missed the polling cut for the prime-time debate.
On the stump, Perry tried to take on the controversial Trump, lashing out at him as “barking carnival act” and a “cancer on conservatism.” That, too, failed to garner much attention.
Last Thursday, Trump stood center stage as a record 24 million Americans tuned in. Perry was one of them, watching with fellow polling bottom-dwellers Santorum and Pataki, over beers and wine.
Presidential campaign history is littered with candidates who, after financial woes, retreated to focus on a single state, most notably John McCain in 2008, who went on to win the GOP nomination after winning in New Hampshire. For Perry, most believe that state must be Iowa.
“Bottom line is to make sure we get him in place to win Iowa,” Barbour said of their strategy, “or at least get a top-three finish in Iowa.”
Mackowiak, the Texas GOP strategist unaffiliated with Perry’s campaign, said, “Perry ought to move to Iowa, pull a Santorum, and do the 99-county tour.”
“That is not a fun way to run president,” he added. “It is hard. It is unpleasant.”
The problem for Perry is that that appeared to be his strategy already. He has held more events in Iowa than anyone other than Santorum (Perry conducted 74 events over 38 days, according to The Des Moines Register), and still garnered little renown.
The bottom line? If you’re in Vegas don’t place a bet on Perry getting the number one or even number two GOP Presidential ticket spot.
Perry’s decline began before his “Oops!” when it was clear the advance hype didn’t match the performance.
The “Oops!” mind freeze – and a mind freeze can happen to anyone who does any kind of public speaking or performance and who must talk or perform under a mercilessly ticking clock — seemed to reinforce the concept that Perry was overhyped and oversold.
Now, it seems, Rick Perry is simply being ignored.