One hat in the GOP ring, one out


Iowa broadcasters have seen the last of advertising by former Minnesota Governor Tom Pawlenty. Not to worry, Texas Governor Rick Perry (pictured) may pick up the slack.

Pawlenty withdrew Sunday (8/14) as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president after faring poorly in Saturday’s Ames, IA straw poll – a precursor to the first-in the nation caucuses next year. Pawlenty needed to make a good showing in Iowa, next door to his own state, to establish credibility as a front-runner. That didn’t happen.

Rep. Michelle Bachmann, also from neighboring Minnesota – and always pointing out that she was born in Iowa – won the straw poll. That doesn’t give her any delegates for next year’s Republican National Convention, but did get her headlines and potentially more cash coming in as a leading candidate of the GOP’s Tea Party faction.

But her victory was partially upstaged by Texas Gov. Rick Perry announcing in South Carolina – home of the second primary (after New Hampshire) – that he was entering the presidential race. Like Bachmann, Perry is a favorite of conservatives and the religious right.

RBR-TVBR observation: The good news for broadcasters is that Perry is probably going to raise a lot more money for his campaign than Pawlenty ever hoped to. So this switch of governors in the GOP race probably means more political advertising in early states such as Iowa and South Carolina. It remains to be seen how seriously Perry will try to challenge former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.

It is worth remembering, though, that Romney was supposed to have New Hampshire sewn up four years ago. Instead, it was the state that launched Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on his successful quest for the Republican nomination, although he lost the big enchilada to Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), who is now in the White House.