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Perry Won’t Be at Straw Poll, but ‘Little Engine’ Will

Americans for Rick Perry, a 527 unaffiliated with the Texas governor’s presumed presidential campaign, is traveling across Iowa this week urging potential Ames straw poll voters to write in the Republican’s name at this weekend’s event.

Nathan Crain, AFRP’s national finance director, is currently in Iowa with about a half-dozen or so volunteer college students, trailing a bus tour organized by a collection of social conservative advocacy organizations. At each stop the bus tour makes, Crain and his group of volunteers promote Perry and urge support for the Texas governor during the upcoming straw poll.

“We’re the little engine that’s trying to make this happen,” Crain said by telephone from a passenger van en route from Des Moines to the next stop on the bus tour.

Perry is expected to officially launch his presidential campaign next week. AFRP will be the governor’s only presence at the Ames straw poll, seen as a potentially crucial event for propelling Republican presidential candidates to victory in the nominating caucuses early next year. The group was denied the right to purchase exhibit space at the event but plans to be there in the form of about a dozen volunteers who will circulate to promote Perry’s write-in status in the poll.

On Saturday, Perry is scheduled to speak at a RedState gathering in Charleston, S.C. He is expected to make clear in a speech to attendees that he will soon launch a formal presidential bid. From South Carolina, Perry is scheduled to fly to New Hampshire for a campaign-style event and, according to the Des Moines Register, will then travel to Waterloo, Iowa, to keynote a Black Hawk County GOP fundraiser.

Perry’s address during the Black Hawk County GOP’s Lincoln Day dinner would be his first appearance in Iowa as a presumed presidential candidate, and, incidentally, occurs in the same Iowa city where Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced her White House candidacy in late June. Bachmann is a native of Waterloo.

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