It appears Texas Governor Rick Perry intends to make some sort of an announcement this Saturday about his presidential aspirations, but he’s going to South Carolina and New Hampshire to do it. 

The Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll is this Saturday in Ames and party officials decided last month not to put Perry’s name on the ballot since he wasn’t a “declared” candidate. Former Iowa GOP chairman Steve Grubbs helped manage a couple of candidates who’ve participated in Straw Polls of the past and he offers this analysis of Perry’s weekend trip.

“I think he knows that on Sunday there are going to be a lot of stories about the presidential campaign and it’s important for him to be in those stories and while he can’t really come to Iowa if he’s not participating in the Straw Poll, (going to) South Carolina and New Hampshire is a good way to make sure he gets mentioned in those stories,” Grubbs said this afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa. “So strategically, it makes a lot of sense for the Perry campaign.”

Chuck Laudner was the Iowa GOP’s executive director in 2007 and helped manage the last Straw Poll. Laudner rejects the idea Perry’s trip to the other two states will overshadow the Straw Poll.

“Actually, the Straw Poll is going to overshadow his announcement — if it’s an announcement,” Laudner told Radio Iowa this afternoon. “I mean you’ve got all these candidates and all the dynamics playing out and thousands and thousands of people gathered; a debate. You know, this is a ‘Cull the Herd’ moment. A bigger story is: ‘Who’s Out of the Race,’ rather than: ‘Rick Perry’s Running.’ Well, tell me something I didn’t know.” 

Bob Haus worked for candidates who competed in the 1995 and 1999 Straw Polls and he said the results this Saturday will still have significance, regardless of what Perry does elsewhere.

“The winners on Saturday will still be the winners,” Haus said during a Radio Iowa interview. “And the losers will still be the losers.”

Six candidates have paid to participate in the event, providing entertainment and food to supporters who make the trek to Ames. State Senator David Johnson, an enthusiastic supporter of Perry, suggests the Texan’s announcement this weekend will change the entire complexion of the race.   

“The Straw Poll will, in my opinion, end up winnowing out candidates who are going to be out of money and have really no means to proceed on with the race,” Johnson told Radio Iowa. “…Everything I have learned about Governor Perry indicates he is our strongest candidate.”

Johnson backed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney last time around. Johnson, however, will not be at Saturday’s Straw Poll to put Perry’s name on the “write-in” line on the Straw Poll ballot. Johnson will be home in Ocheyedan instead, in a parade that will pass by his house.