Here Comes Rick Perry: TX Gov All-But-Announces He’s In

Jerry Lara

Could Texas Gov. Rick Perry be the shot of Texas-style Christianity the lackluster 2012 field needs? Sounds like we’ll soon find out.

“I’m not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in,” Perry told the Des Moines Register over the weekend. “But I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs.”If that’s not enough for you, Perry’s been dropping hints behind closed doors as well.

Last week, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) told the AP “Perry says his family is encouraging him to run,” news he got from “a conversation the two governors had.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) — who’s unpopular but still running a key presidential state — says he expects Perry to jump in as well.

“Every time I’ve talked to him he leads me to believe he’s going to run,” Scott told.

There’s no doubt that a lot of Republicans hope Perry will jump in. At a gathering of climate change earlier this month, attendees were practically begging Perry to run. At other GOP gatherings and on the social networks during the day Perry’s name often rings out. Republicans seem to think he can carry the economic message, thanks to Texas’ economy, and his deep attachment to the party’s evangelical conservative base gives him a boost that frontrunner Mitt Romney can’t claim.

Perry still has a long way to go though once he gets in. Polls in the early states show him pulling in weak support for the moment, though numbers could shift quickly once an official announcement is made (just ask Michele Bachmann.)

So — assuming all these hints Perry’s dropping are leading to the obvious conclusion — we’ll have a new campaign on our hands in the coming weeks, one that could shake things up quite a bit. Whether or not that will bring with it the enthusiasm in the GOP field activists are hoping for remains to be seen.