Ames, Iowa–“Rick Perry is going to be another Fred Thompson. He’s coming in the race at the last minute, and shows no respect for the Iowa Straw Poll by announcing on the day it’s being held and, to top things off, is coming to Waterloo [Iowa] on the day after the Straw Poll. This will all come back to burn him when the Iowa caucuses roll around in February.”
That’s what one irate former GOP county chairman and longtime player in Iowa Republican politics conceded Friday evening, His sentiments were directed, of course, at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will declare his interest in the Republican presidential nomination in South Carolina on Saturday–as the Iowa “straw poll” is being held–and then jet to the Hawkeye State on the morning after the poll.
Because Iowa Republicans are so protective of the quadrennial straw poll and the international attention it generates for their state, the former chairman’s tirade against a candidate who ignores the poll as well as diverts press attention to it is understandable. Several other Republicans HUMAN EVENTS spoke to at the site of the poll at Iowa State University here voiced similar pique at Perry.
But Perry will have other problems in Iowa if, as expected, he decides to compete in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses next year. His late start notwithstanding, the governor is likely to face considerable skepticism among anti-illegal immigration activists. Last week, former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, who was briefly a candidate for the Republican nomination in ’08, told reporters that Perry had called him a “racist” for trying to toughen the GOP line on illegal immigration four years ago.
“Gov. Perry will have to really explain why he was so critical of Tom [Tancredo] and so soft on the issue of non-citizens in the US if he hopes to have a chance here,” Bonita Davis, retired U.S. Air Force officer from Des Moines, told HUMAN EVENTS Friday. Davis, who is an active volunteer for Herman Cain this year, added that “Perry’s support of the ‘NAFTA Superhighway‘ in Texas [a proposal now on the drawing boards that raises the ire of Ron Paul backers and sovereignty advocates] will also cause him some big problems.”
Perry does have his following in Iowa and Des Moines lawyer lobbyist Craig Schoenfeldt, a veteran of the George W. Bush campaigns, has for months been mobilizing a draft movement behind the Texan. But clearly, Perry will also have his problems in Iowa.