Sunday, February 15, 2015

Oops pushes all in on Iowa, and more Sweet '16

The consultants must laugh behind their hands.  It's like taking candy from a baby.  (A Downs Syndrome baby; if I wanted to be mean).

Former Gov. Rick Perry has brought on board four longtime Republican operatives to help him assemble a likely 2016 presidential campaign in Iowa.

RickPAC, Perry’s political action committee, announced Sunday it has hired Robert Haus, Andy Swanson, Dane Nealson and Kip Murphy.


Haus co-chaired Perry’s 2012 campaign in Iowa. Since then, he has been informally guiding Perry’s political travels to the Hawkeye State, accompanying him on swings through the state and connecting him with local power-brokers.

Nealson and Murphy were also involved in Perry’s 2012 bid. Nealson served as Central Iowa field director for Perry’s campaign, while Murphy was Western Iowa coordinator for a group that encouraged Perry to run. Also during the 2012 cycle, Nealson worked for Tim Pawlenty and Murphy for Rick Santorum. Swanson was the top organizer in Iowa for Pawlenty’s 2012 bid as well as John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

In recent weeks, Perry’s potential rivals have made serious moves to lay the groundwork for Iowa campaigns. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has hired David Kochel, an Iowa-based strategist who advised both of Mitt Romney’s bids for the White House, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s PAC has leased office space in a Des Moines suburb.

The Iowa hires come days after Perry announced another addition to the team he has in place for a 2016 run: Greg Strimple, a Republican pollster who will serve as a senior adviser to RickPAC.
Perry rolled out the Iowa recruits a day before he heads to the state for a town hall meeting at Morningside College in Sioux City. The hires were first reported in local media, including the Des Moines Register and Iowa Republican blog.

Walker has gone to Texas seeking help.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has hired Austin-based fundraiser Susan Lilly for his likely presidential campaign, according to two Republican sources.

Lilly, who got her start as a staffer for Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Williamson, is a player in both Texas and national Republican politics. In 1997, she started Lilly & Company, the chief fundraiser for several high-profile officeholders, including House Speaker Joe Straus, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Phil Johnson and Jeff Boyd

She also counts U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and 11 members of the Texas U.S. House delegation as clients, according to her company website.  

She is not the first Texan to join Walker's team. Rick Wiley, an Austin-based former Republican National Committee political director, was one of Walker's first hires.

Is Ted Cruz misunderestimated?  Some who won't let their names be used say yes.

A prominent Republican consultant who isn't working for any of the 2016 presidential candidates and who has been right more times than I can count said something that shocked me when we had lunch recently. He said that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had roughly the same odds of becoming the Republican presidential nominee as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.


The combination of (Cruz's) running room as the race's one true tea-party candidate, his debating and oratorical skills and his willingness to always, on every issue, stake out the most conservative position make him a real threat.

Go read it, as much for the laughs (Bobby Jindal is ranked ahead of Huckabee) as for the acorn occasionally found by the blind hog.  Perry's early salvos comparing Cruz to Obama are being launched for a reason; probably that high-dollar pollster is telling him to do it.

We breed these conservative mutants like rabbits down here in Texas.

Update (2/16): GOPLifer also thinks Cruz is being overlooked.  I enjoy Chris Ladd's blog because he is fearless about criticizing the Republican party, but if he's right and Americans are as stupid as Ted Cruz is about net neutrality, then we're all in deep shit.  That contains the proviso that Cruz is not dissembling.

I'll go out on a very thin, early limb, with barely a bud on it, extending the horse race prognostications I posted just a few days ago.

Perry's best possible finish in Iowa will be third, ahead of Cruz but behind Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker.  What to watch for: if Cruz finishes ahead of Jeb Bush.  That's all any talking head will yammer about if it happens. And if I'm wrong and Cruz actually wins Iowa, no matter the margin, he's instantly the golden child.

Bush comes back in NH, but whoever finishes second wins the spin game.  Update: Perry's also putting a lot of effort into the Granite State.

Then you have caucuses in CO (perhaps Perry's best shot to break through with a win, but his main competition is Rand Paul and, by extension, weed) and MN (Walker), and primaries in NY (Bush, followed by Christie) and Utah (Huckabee or Cruz).  Then there are the Nevada caucuses (whomever has established the most momentum from among Bush, Walker, or TeaBagger Twins Cruz/Huckabee, the frontrunners by this time next year).

And then it's on to SC, where Miss Lindsey Graham is the favorite son.  No line here, but the ones who act the freakiest have the best shot -- I'll take Huckabee, Cruz, and Perry.  The Palmetto State is the last stand for the fuzziest of fringe radicals like Carson and Santorum and other wannabees like Jindal and John Bolton and like that.

Hopefully we get lots of those wonderful debates. ;^)

GOP primary schedule still subject to change, as they say, so besides unpredictable developments and a foggy crystal ball, that's my only disclaimer.  I'm usually better at picking Kentucky Derby contenders.


Arlo Clyde said...

Cruz is more than a wild card in the Republican race, in my opinion. The Teabillies may all go for him. I know a person that said that if all politicians were like Cruz, this country would be saved.

Gadfly said...

I'm McLoving the Perry potshots at Havana Ted so far.