Perry joins field of candidates vying for Republican nomination

William James Gerlich

Another Texas politician has a chance at being added to the list of U.S. presidents now that Gov. Rick Perry has officially entered the race for the White House.

Perry announced his presidential aspirations at the RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday, and announced the launch of his presidential campaign website shortly afterward. During his speech Perry said President Barack Obama been a “rudderless” leader and said if elected president he would cut taxes and deregulate business to help stimulate the economy.

In Iowa, UT’s College Republicans are campaigning for Perry and said he will bring a “fresh face” to the primaries.

“Iowans couldn’t be more receptive to our presence and the campaign,” said College Republicans President Lauren Pierce in an email to The Daily Texan.

James Henson, a government lecturer, said Perry will be a top-tier candidate among the Republican Party and will run on a pro-business, economic growth platform. He said in order to win the primary Perry has to continue the momentum he has now and continue to raise money.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, Perry received 15 percent of the Republican vote in a straw poll in Iowa while still undeclared as an official candidate earlier this week. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the front-runner with 17 percent, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, ranked third with 12 percent.

Pierce said Perry would not have a problem boxing out the other Republican front-runners and would hopefully be a strong contender against Obama.

“This election will be based on the economy, and unfortunately for Bachmann, her focus is on social issues — which won’t carry victory. And Romney is an old face that hasn’t been able to pull through before,” Pierce said. “Hopefully the country will turn to a leader like Perry who can run a country where we live within our means.”

While campaigning in Iowa on Friday, Romney said the primaries will be much more interesting now that Perry is in the race.

Perry is currently the longest-serving governor in the country, and he has gained national support as a Republican presidential candidate from many GOP legislators across the country, as well as from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who announced he will run for U.S. Senate earlier last month.

Government lecturer Alan Sager told The Daily Texan last month if Perry wins the nomination, he will win the presidency. Sager said Perry is in a good position to run because Texas has weathered the economic downturn better than most states in the country.