Texas Governor Rick Perry is headed to California this week for meetings with business leaders and legislators that are doing nothing to quell speculation about a possible presidential run. According to the Washington Post, this is his second trip to California in three weeks. The question is whether these jaunts mean he is still testing the waters for a possible try at the Republican presidential nomination, or if they indicate he has already decided to do so and is in full pre-campaign mode raising money and gathering future endorsements.
For Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel, there’s no doubt about the answer to that question: “I sense that he is beyond considering running for president. He is now planning to run for president,” asserted Steel. That has yet to be proved, but Republicans like Steel can be forgiven for jumping to conclusions. Perry’s recent travels and statements have had all the earmarks of a presidential flirtation.
Of course, GOP activists who have spent much of the past year waiting for the perfect candidate to parachute into the race have been disappointed before. The buzz about Perry is highly reminiscent of the media swoon over Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who also spent the weeks preceding his announcement he wasn’t running acting very much like a man who had every intention of entering the race. Unlike Daniels, Perry’s indecision does not appear to be linked to misgivings on the part of his family. But the longer the Texas governor keeps his party waiting, the more many activists and donors may be inclined to think he really isn’t interested and commit themselves to candidates who need no coaxing.