After Poor Iowa Showing, Why Is Perry Still Running?

Only Gov. Rick Perry knows for sure what changed in the 12-hour period between his late-night decision to come back to Texas to reassess his presidential bid and his morningTweet that he was forging ahead to South Carolina.

While the Tuesday night announcement surprised Perry's staffers and supporters — even following a disappointing fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses — his abrupt and public change of heart Wednesday morning caught them completely off guard.  

So what could he be thinking? We asked seasoned strategists, politicos and Republican experts on the ground in early primary states for their top five theories.

One thing is apparent from Santorum’s strong finish Tuesday night: Social conservatives are pining for an anti-Romney to coalesce behind. Stick around long enough in this GOP horse race and almost every candidate gets a resurgence. That's something GOP strategist O’Connell says former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — who dropped out in August after a third-place showing in the Iowa Straw Poll — “has got to be kicking himself over.”   

“If Tim Pawlenty was still around, he would’ve seen a surge he could’ve capitalized on,” O’Connell said.

He’s not. And that provides an opening for Perry in South Carolina — but only if he plays his cards perfectly, which he has yet to do.

Read more from Emily Ramshaw at The Texas Tribune

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published this page in In The News 2012-01-05 10:00:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy