Local Prof Likes Perry's Chances for GOP Nomination

The Republican presidential hopefuls took part in their first debate last night. Eventhough he didn't participate in last night's debate, a Rice political science professor believes Governor Rick Perry could be the GOP front runner — if he throws his hat in the ring. Bill Stamps reports.

For some time now many Republicans have been complaining about a weak field of candidates in their quest to unseat President Barrack Obama in the 2012 election.

Some are still waiting for that one person who will come in and electrify the base. Rice professor Mark Jones believes Texas Governor Rick Perry could be the person those people are looking for.

"He’s conservative enough to satisfy the right wing of the Republican Party, but he does have some centrist characteristics — or at least moderately-centrist compared to some of his competitors that makes it at least more probable than them of winning the actual presidential election."

Jones believes Perry could certainly beat out the current crop of candidates to win the Republican nomination. But that’s where the problems start according to Jones.

"Perry certainly has as good a chance as any of them to win the Republican nomination. Where he’s likely to have a lot of trouble is winning the general election, and that’s particularly after the intense national media scrutiny as well as negative campaign commercials by the Obama administration and its allies."

It’s hard not to compare Perry to the last Texas governor to become president, George W. Bush. But Jones says Bush was a bit more of a moderate than Perry.

"He was seen as someone who pursued a very bipartisan agenda. He had several Democrats who supported him. His position regarding a lot of social issues was a little more moderate then Perry. And he certainly — if you put him on sort of a left or right scale — he was noticably more to the center than Governor Perry would be today."

Perry is definitely spending more time on the road these days. It was just recently announced he’ll speak at the Alabama Republican party’s summer fundraiser in August. Jones says these are definitely signs of a candidacy.

"Every day that passes, he does more and more things that would lead you to expect he’s going to run. Now, that doesn’t mean he is going to run, but the odds of him running have increased on a daily basis since late May."