What will Rick Perry do?

What will Rick Perry do? Now that Cruz surprised lots of people by surviving millions of dollars in attack ads, will Rick Perry double down on his Dewhurst endorsement or cut loose?

The smart move politically would probably be for him to cut his losses and just ignore the runoff. Perfunctory mentions of Dewhurst, and only made when pinned down by reporters.

Does Perry really want to double down for David Dewhurst? I can think of a few good reasons why not:

1. Risk of losing -- if Dewhurst loses (a 50 chance?), I bet some major donors would feel like Perry isn't so unbeatable. Some potential candidates might be tempted to dip a toe in the water and see if they can raise donor commitments.
2. Anger his base -- look at the folks supporting Cruz. They were mostly the people backing Perry when Kay challenged him in 2010. How far does he want to push his luck? If he gets a serious primary from someone more conservative than Kay, people will remember if he goes all out for Dewhurst. Perry has largely avoided angering conservatives so far in his tenure, but there will be anger if Perry goes all out.
3. Dewhurst's racial attacks -- are those ads really the sort of thing Perry wants to be associated with? It was ugly, slimy, dishonest...and it backfired.
4. Does he really like Dewhurst? As I noted before, I've heard of a few people who have heard unflattering anecdotes over the years from Perry about Dewhurst.

And if Dewhurst wins, does Perry really get any credit? Not really, because Dewhurst's millions will be credited. At best a few major donors are kept happy.

Despite those reasons, if I were a betting man, I'd guess that Perry will probably put more effort into the Dewhurst effort in the runoff. It will be a fascinating angle to keep an eye on.

Posted by Evan @ 05/31/12 03:10 PM


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