Friday, April 24, 2009

AP reports that Perry is comfy on the right

KVR picked up on a Associated Press report by Kelley Shannon in the Dallas Morning News. Kelley's report indicates that Perry's strategic goal of staying to the right is working so far; and he's comfortable there.
The two-term governor is lately offering fiery remarks that appeal to highly conservative voters as he gears up for a rough, expensive re-election race against U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for the GOP nomination.

"There certainly is a strategy there, and one that he's run before," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. Perry, who has never lost an election, is working to nail down the support of social and economic conservatives who tend to dominate Texas' GOP primary voting before he even thinks about moving toward the middle to appeal to a larger group of Texans, Jillson said.

Recent history shows pleasing those conservative voters is the key to winning GOP primaries in Texas. No more than about 650,000 of Texas' 13 million registered voters typically vote in a Republican gubernatorial primary, but there usually aren't two heavyweight contenders on the ballot.

Whoever survives that contest for governor in March 2010 is the favorite to win the November general election in the still-reliably Republican state.

The challenge for Hutchison, who's more moderate than Perry on social issues like abortion and embryonic stem cell research, is to attract middle-of-the-road voters and suburban women to the GOP primary, Jillson said. By doing that, he said, she could form a foundation for Texas Republicans' future as the state's demographics change and voters become less conservative.

"I think that argument is there to be made because Perry does amaze and offend regularly," Jillson said.

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