Call it a Texas two-step. Rick Perry has doubled back and decided to make a stop in Iowa as part of his presidential almost-announcement tour after all.
According to CNN, the Texas governor will speak at a dinner in Waterloo, Iowa, on Sunday, a day after the GOP straw poll in Ames, deep in the heart of what might loosely be called Bachmann Country.
Perry took some heat from Iowa Republicans after his plans to signal his impending candidacy with events in South Carolina and New Hampshire came to light. Even worse as far as they were concerned, Perry’s making his circuit on Saturday, the same day as the straw poll, which means the poll’s winner—very likely Michele Bachmann—could be eclipsed by the barnstorming Texan.
Waterloo is where Bachmann was born—and where she made her own presidential campaign announcement. (It’s also where she got inadvertently tangled with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, but that’s so two months ago.)
While Perry may be seeking to mollify Iowans who believe he is neglecting the state, the move appears to be a clear shot across Bachmann’s bow. Both candidates will be seeking the support of Iowa’s evangelical community before the February caucuses.
Perry’s impending arrival in Iowa should only further electrify the atmosphere in Ames, where Perry isn’t on the ballot but where his supporters will be mounting a vigorous write-in effort.
It’s widely expected that Bachmann will battle Rep. Ron Paul and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for honors at the influential poll. Herman Cain, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and Rep. Thad McCotter are also on the ballot, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, none of whom will be in Ames on Saturday.
Perry is expected to wait until formally declaring his White House run until he returns home to Texas next week.