The wheels on Rick Perry’s bus will go round and round Iowa, where he’ll make 49 stops between now and the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucus, his campaign announced last night.
Missing from his schedule are any stops in New Hampshire or South Carolina — the two states Perry visited in August to announce his run — which will vote on Jan. 10 and Jan. 21, respectively.
The one-time Republican frontrunner had invested substantial time in both states, making 25 campaign appearances in 11 days in New Hampshire and 21 stops over nine days in South Carolina since announcing his bid, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.
Perry is polling in third place in South Carolina, but might not make it to the Palmetto State’s primary if he doesn’t poll in the top three in Iowa. His recent focus on divisive issues like gay rights and school prayer are unlikely to help him gain ground among New Hampshire’s mainly moderate Republicans, and his campaign is all but finished in New Hampshire anyway, given that he hasn’t polled above 4 percent in the state in two months.
“When you’re slumping that badly you’ve got to pick and choose where you’re going to campaign,” says Dante Scala, a political scientist the University of New Hampshire. “He’s basically trying to jump-start his campaign, but in New Hampshire there’s no place to attach a jumper-cable to.”