Gov. Rick Perry is still debating whether to enter the 2012 race, but his supporters aren’t waiting around for his decision. Americans for Rick Perry, a group that’s not affiliated with the governor, has already raised $400,000 in the past three weeks, the National Journal reports. And it’s planning to use that money to represent Perry in the upcoming Iowa straw poll, regardless of whether he’s joined the race by then:
Bob Schuman, a senior strategist for Americans for Rick Perry, said Thursday that the group is expanding its fundraising operation outside of Texas to include Miami, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The group can accept unlimited donations but, under federal law, can’t strategize with Perry himself. …
Perry has given no indication that he will be announcing a decision on a White House bid before he hosts a national prayer meeting in Houston on August 6. That’s just one week before the straw poll, leaving him little time to launch a campaign.
“We’re going to see if we can turn people out for him and keep him in the hearts and minds of caucusgoers,’’ said Schuman, who worked on campaigns for Phil Gramm and Jack Kemp. “The race is still so fluid.’’
The fact that an organization not officially associated with Perry was able to raise so much in a short time – and before the governor has even decided to enter the race – is a positive sign for Perry’s potential fundraising capacity. It will be interesting to see whether this financial backing also translates into grassroots support in Iowa.