Friday, January 6, 2012

Sam Youngman for Reuters lists four reasons why Perry decided to keep running

However, he left off the two real reasons.  Youngman postulates that Rick Perry decided not to bail after Iowa for several reasons.  First, his campaign is convinced that Santorum, who emerged as the leading anit-Romney conservative candidate, is not strong enough to keep that position up in the other states.  Second, he was inundated with calls from supporters who urged him to stay in.  Third, Perry has a lot of money he can still tap into in Texas.  To quote one policy wonk, "When you're Governor of Texas, you are never broke."  Finally, Perry felt as though he had to compete in at least one state that was in line with his position on the political spectrum, as opposed to the more moderate Iowa and New Hampshire, to see how well he can poll in the South.

All of Youngman's points are well taken.  They are also, at best, reasons 3 through 6 that Perry staying in the primary race.  The real reasons are twofold.  First and foremost, everyone knows it is very difficult to win a national primary the first time around.  Your odds go up, however, if you ran previously and have a latent organization and contacts in place for the next time.  Mitt Romney this time and John McCain last time are excellent examples.  So I think Rick Perry is running as much to be the NEXT candidate as he is to win in 2012. The second reason is more simple.  He wants to be Romney's Vice President.  Opposites make good running mates in national elections (see e.g. LBJ and Kennedy).  Perry would ensure Romney takes not only Texas, but also the entire South.  Romney would do well in the moderate swing states, Michigan where his old man was Governor, the mountain west and even the North East.  Those are the real reasons Perry stayed in.  In fact, one has to even wonder if there haven't been a few very back room discussions because Perry remaining in the race helps Romney immeasurably by fracturing the "anybody but Romney" conservative vote.

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