Staff for Texas Governor Rick Perry today scheduled a trip to Iowa for this Sunday, the day after the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll.
Rick Perry is more than likely to run for president, but he’s not yet an “announced” candidate and his name is not printed on Saturday’s Straw Poll ballot. Perry’s plan to speak at a Black Hawk County Republican Party fundraiser in Waterloo on Sunday is a last-minute kind of thing according to Black Hawk County GOP chairman Mac McDonald.
“Governor Perry’s campaign called me early this morning and said, ‘Hey, he’s going to be in town and he would love to come to your dinner and say a few words,’ and I said, ‘We’d love to have him,'” McDonald told Radio Iowa.
McDonald, who is not publicly endorsing a candidate until his party chooses a nominee, calls Perry a candidate “to be reckoned with.”
“I think he shows the experience that this country is looking for amongst the other candidates that the Republicans are putting up to run against President Obama,” McDonald said.
McDonald had invited other Republican presidential candidates to attend the Sunday event at the Electric Park Ballroom since it was the day after the Straw Poll, but none accepted. McDonald said the invitation is still open.
“I think that the other candidates will look harder at our dinner,” McDonald said.
State Representative Walt Rogers of Cedar Falls, a well-known local “grassroots” organizer, will be at the fundraising dinner. Rogers endorsed Rick Santorum in early July, but Rogers holds no ill will toward Perry for trying to steal some of the spotlight from the other candidates, like Santorum, who are participating in Saturday’s Straw Poll.
“Let’s get everybody who’s going to run, let’s get ’em in so we can fully evaluate everybody and see who we can put forward as the best candidate,” Rogers said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. “…This is just a different year. People keep talking about Sarah Palin getting in late and Rick Perry, obviously, waited ’til now.”
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is scheduled to visit Iowa over the Labor Day weekend.
Sunday’s fundraiser in Waterloo will be held in the Electric Park Ballroom. Tickets are $30. It will be Perry’s first trip back to Iowa since 2007. Perry campaigned here with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was running for president at the time.
(A previous version of this story said Walt Rogers was a former Newt Gingrich staffer. Will Rogers, another state representative from Des Moines, worked on the Gingrich campaign before his departure in June, not Walt Rogers of Cedar Falls.)