Texas Gov. Rick Perry is taking his presidential campaign to South Carolina where he says he can rebound after his poor, fifth place showing in Iowa. KERA’s Shelley Kofler says the Palmetto state will be a make-or-break primary for Perry.
Perry’s decision to stay in the race follows an earlier announcement that he’d reassess his candidacy. Many interpreted that to mean he was dropping out.
But now Perry’s casting Iowa as a “quirky place.” He says he’ll attend two weekend debates in New Hampshire, where he’s not expected to do well. Then Perry heads to socially conservative South Carolina where he says “real” Republicans share his values. In addition to faith issues, a campaign spokesperson confirms Perry will emphasize veterans issues.
UT Political Science Professor Jim Henson says South Carolina is a must win for Perry.
Henson: Waterloo is in Iowa, but South Carolina is Perry's Waterloo. From day one South Carolina has been central to the concept of a Perry candidacy. He's a socially conservative, red-meat, southern Republican. And if he can't dominate South Carolina where's the rationale for the candidacy.
A December poll showed Newt Gingrich running first in South Carolina with 31 percent. Perry had just five percent. But those numbers may be changing and a meeting of national conservative figures next weekend may shift the dynamics further. Politico is reporting that nationally prominent faith leaders will meet in Brenham, Texas with the aim of consolidating their support behind a single alternative to Mitt Romney. Many of those attending took part in Perry’s Houston prayer rally last summer.