Why the Heck Is Perry Still In?

Nate Silver ponders whether the answer is political or personal
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2012 1:55 PM CST
Why the Heck Is Perry Still In?
In this Jan. 2, 2012, file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks in Sioux City, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Normally when candidates say they're "reassessing" their campaign, they're done for, but for some reason Rick Perry is soldiering on. Why? Nate Silver of the New York Times contemplates that question today, posing two exaggerated hypothetical scenarios: Either a) It was personal. Perry prayed on the decision, and ignored his strategists, or b) It was rational. Perry's strategists convinced him to stay in, after getting calls from elected officials, donors, and activists eager for him to supplant Rick Santorum as their conservative anti-Romney.

Early reporting indicates it was at least partially the latter. Some donors did urge Perry to stay in, and conservative leaders are actively seeking a standard-bearer. Polling data in South Carolina is woefully out of date, but Silver suspects Perry could peel away some former Gingrich supporters and contend. "I would not assign high odds to Mr. Perry making a comeback—much less actually winning the nomination," he writes, but it's too soon "to conclude that Mr. Perry has been winnowed out." (More Nate Silver stories.)

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