Rick Perry Sets His Sights On Florida

Smart move by Team Perry since Florida’s electorate will be in the spotlight this fall and will be the most important for the eventual GOP presidential nominee throughout the campaign (both in the primary and the general election). If Rick Perry has a strong showing in the Presidency Five straw poll, the race for the Republican nomination could quickly become a two-man contest between himself and Rick Perry, since Michele Bachmann has indicated that she will skip the event. Adam C. Smith of the St. Petersburg Times has more:

The Republican presidential race suddenly looks like a three-person battle between Texas Gov. Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But as the focus of the contest soon shifts to Florida, Perry and Bachmann are invisible in the state while Romney has an expansive political network still in place since his campaign here four years ago.

Grass-roots activists and veteran political consultants say they see no sign of Bachmann trying to organize a campaign in Florida, though on Aug. 27 she plans to attend a tea party rally in The Villages and then a Florida Family Policy Council dinner in Orlando. And the campaign told the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday night that it has no plans to compete in a mock election planned by the state GOP next month.

It’s a different story with Perry, who formally jumped in the race Saturday.

Perry campaign officials are talking to some of the top Republican strategists, including former George W. Bush Florida 2004 chief Brett Doster and the Tallahassee team of Randy Enwright, Jim Rimes and Rich Heffley. The late entry into the contest has also contacted many of the state’s top money-raisers and found some keen interest.

State GOP leaders are aiming to make Florida the fifth state in the nominating contest – after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina – but Florida will be in the spotlight in September.

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