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Texas governor Rick Perry, a newcomer to the presidential race, spent Sunday courting Republican leaders in South Carolina. Perry assured the leaders that he would be a frequent presence in their state.
“You are going to see me, see me, see me,” he said at the gathering. He assured the attendees that they would all soon be on a “first-name basis” with him. The closed door reception took place at the RedState Gathering, a conference being held at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston and attended by more than 400 conservative activists.
South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly advised Perry to visit the state often. “Because we’re a carve-out state, we’re small, we’re easy to get around and we’re an inexpensive media market to campaign in, they can really get to know people,” he said.
“They can go to the small diner for breakfast in one corner of the state, they can be in the midlands, they can be in the low country, they can be all over the place. So that’s my advice: Come and meet the [voters], get to know them and answer their questions.”
Florence County GOP Chairman Bill Pickle said while it was still “too early” for him to endorse a candidate, he was impressed that Perry chose to come to South Carolina to make his announcement on the same day as the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.
“It was an outstanding move,” he said, adding that it could significantly help him win votes in this first-in-the-South primary.
Later in the day, Perry traveled to Iowa to attend an event at the National Cattle Congress in Iowa. Even though GOP rival Michele Bachmann was also at the event, the two did not directly face off. However, the event did allow potential voters to compare the two candidates. Their campaign styles were quite different.
Perry arrived early, hanging out with supporters and appearing relaxed and casual. Bachmann, on the other hand, arrived late just minutes before her scheduled speech. She stuck to her talking points but did hang out after her speech to sign autographs and answer questions.
Perry is expected to travel to New Hampshire before returning to South Carolina next week for another event.
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