Exploratory committee not likely for Perry
July 27th, 2011
01:02 PM ET
11 years ago

Exploratory committee not likely for Perry

Washington (CNN) - If Texas Gov. Rick Perry decides to run for president - a safe bet according to many Republicans - he is likely to bypass the traditional step of forming an exploratory committee and jump head-first into the GOP primary fight.

Perry adviser David Carney told CNN that he doubts there would be enough time to pursue a formal "testing the waters" phase in advance of a full-blown campaign effort. The governor is expected to make a final decision about the presidential race sometime in middle to late August.

Most of the Republican candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, created exploratory committees ahead of their official campaign launches.

"Rick Perry is not a half-in kind of person on anything, ever," Carney told CNN. "If he decides to move forward he'll be all in. If he is out, he'll be out just as quickly. But we have not made any hard decisions yet."

Exploratory committees allow potential candidates to raise and spend a limited amount of money as they contemplate whether to run for president. They are loosely defined and generally considered a formality on the path to an official campaign effort.

An exploratory committee would probably be useless in Perry's case, since he and his advisers have already been doing their own political prospecting for weeks.

Perry has placed calls to key Republican officials and activists in the early caucus and primary states to measure support. He has also been consulting with high-level GOP donors about putting together a muscular financial operation that could be sustained in a general election match-up against President Barack Obama.

The emerging consensus in GOP circles is that a Perry bid is all but certain.

"If Perry doesn't run, it's because something strange and unexpected happens in the next three weeks," said one Republican who has recently spent time with the governor.

Perry's foremost concern, according to those who have spoken with him, is the question of whether he can raise enough money to be competitive in both the Republican primaries and the general election. Perry raised roughly $40 million during his 2010 re-election bid, but Texas campaign finance regulations are looser than federal ones.

Supporters of the governor welcomed more than 40 major Republican donors to Austin last week to map out a potential campaign and discuss how much money would be required to run successfully in each of the early primary states and beyond.

Barry Wynn, a South Carolina-based fund-raiser who flew to Austin for the meeting, said he believes that Perry is down "to the last one or two checks" on his presidential checklist and is conducting some final due diligence on the financial front.

Wynn called Perry "a ball of energy" and contrasted him with that other Texas governor who ran for president, George W. Bush.

"I think he is certainly a real Texan," he said. "He is not a Yale-educated Texan. He is Texas A&M Texan, which is a little different flavor. He has got a swagger."

Wynn, a confidante of Sen. Jim DeMint, is involved in the planning of an upcoming presidential forum in South Carolina that will be hosted by DeMint, a popular figure among grass-roots conservatives.

Wynn said he plans to remain neutral until after the Labor Day forum in Columbia, but strongly hinted he would back Perry. And Wynn said he could envision DeMint lining up behind Perry in the coming months because of the governor's vocal opposition to federal spending.

Filed under: 2012 • Jim DeMint • Rick Perry
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  1. B

    Is everybody ready for – Bush II ?

    July 27, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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