Texas Governor Rick Perry will announce this Saturday his official bid for the Republican nomination for president. Politico reports that Perry "will remove any doubt about his White House intentions" during an upcoming speech at a South Carolina conservative conference.
Perry's decision does not come as a surprise. The past few months were marked with the obvious signs of a presidential run: reports that he was meeting with donors, discussing plans with key Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire, and planning an August speech in South Carolina, an early primary state.
But there were also oblique indications. Perry makes his official bid just days after participating in "The Response," a prayer event in Houston he helped organize. While Perry's involvement with the 30,000- strong-event was described by some commentators as a "coming out party" for the Texas governor, he remained tight-lipped on his political intentions during the conference, which he described as "apolitical" and "nondenominational." His remarks and prayer were more veiled than those of others on stage. In fact, nowhere in his prayer did Perry address "Jesus" or "Christ," preferring instead the more ecumenical "Lord" and "Father." [full text of his prayer below]
Either way, Perry enters the race with evangelical-Republican bona fides.
It is not clear, however, whether Perry will draw support away from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), who has received much of her support from grassroots social conservatives. Polls suggest that, despite his stance as a social conservative, evangelical, and southerner, the Texas governor is more likely to pull most of his votes from former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
In a June Rasmussen survey, Romney polled at 33 percent of GOP likely voters. Bachmann was second at 19 percent. A new Rasmussen poll, however, included Perry. Perry received 18 percent support while Romney's support dropped to 22 percent, and Bachmann's numbers remained relatively static at 16 percent. Other polls indicate a similar pattern. On average, Romney is polling at around 19 percent compared to Perry and Bachmann, who are each receiving around 13 percent support among Republican voters.
Perry's announcement is likely to overshadow Saturday's Iowa straw poll, an annual event in Ames that Perry will not participate in. The straw poll is one of the first harbingers of the Iowa Caucus. Campaigns with well-organized, highly-motivated campaigns can do well in the straw poll.
In 2008, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee did surprisingly well. He later won the Iowa Caucuses. This year, the straw poll is expected to go to Bachmann, but a strong showing by former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) would signal that they have strong campaign organizations. With Perry entering the race on the same day, however, the straw poll's importance drops significantly. Perry is not a straw poll candidate, yet his entry into the race is certain to shake up the field.
Perry's prayer at The Response:
Lord, You are the source of every good thing, You are our only hope. And we stand before You today in awe of your power, and in gratitude for Your blessings; in humility for our sins.
Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government. And as a nation we have forgotten Who made us, Who protects us, Who blesses us, and for that we cry out for Your forgiveness.
We pray for our nation's leaders, Lord – for parents, for pastors, for the generals, for governors – that You would inspire them in these difficult times. Father, we pray for our president, that You would impart Your wisdom upon him, that You would guard his family. We pray for our military and the families who love them. Father, especially for those special operators who lost their life yesterday in defending our freedoms.
You call us to repent, Lord, and this day is our response. We give it all to You. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen and amen.