It will begin a marathon whose finish line follows a lot of unknown peaks and valleys, twists and turns, said Carlos Huerta, a political science professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
“It’s grueling, it takes a lot of stamina,” he said.
Add the specter of ’round-the-clock media coverage, and the edges can fray quicker than ever on even the most well-tailored campaigns.
“A lot of the conversation today is based on the assumption he’s going to get the nomination, and we have no idea,” he said.
During the primary, the attacks will come from the far right on issues such as jobs, immigration and fiscal matters. The general election, if he makes it that far, will see attacks from the far left and middle on the same issues, Huerta said.
“Candidates have to be careful not to make statements during the primary that hurt in the general election,” he said.
The trick, Huerta said, is gaining ground with the conservatives who have a lot of influence with the nomination process without coming off as a right-wing extremist.
“He’s got to distinguish himself as one who has broad appeal and experience,” he said.
Perry may benefit because Texas has a constitutionally weak governor. Because the office is limited in power, Perry cannot take credit — or be blamed — for Texas’ best and worst policies, said Bob Bezdek, a political analyst and faculty member at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
“The governor is articulate and he’s written a book about government regulation, which of course is a theme of many Republicans,” Bezdek said. “And he certainly has been true to the idea of not raising taxes in the face of a $26 billion shortfall.
“However, other factors — like the jobs creation — honestly have little to do with Perry.”
Bezdek said, on the national stage, some polls show Republicans are not yet excited about any one candidate, including Perry.
“He knows how to get things done, regardless of whether one agrees with his position or not,” Huerta said. “He knows how to campaign and win.”
The Houston Chronicle reports on the governor's remarks: