Updated August 14
The fact had already been confirmed, Gov. Rick Perry was ready to run for president. Yet, more than 700 people filled one hotel ballroom and spilled into another to hear the much-talked-about Texan make the official announcement.
About 16 minutes into his speech to a convention of bloggers, strategists and statewide party leaders, Perry said the words:
SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly called the announcement “a big deal for our state.”
“We’ve got to put on a presidential preference primary and have got to raise a lot of money, so the more excitement, the more buzz, the more national media attention, the better it is for South Carolina,” Connelly said after the speech.
Political observers agree Gov. Rick Perry gained some ground by splitting the media’s attention between Saturday’s Ames, Iowa Straw Polls and the 2011 RedState Gathering in Charleston, SC.
Later in the day, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll, passing the first test of the GOP campaign season. She is headed to South Carolina on Tuesday.
Democratic Party Chair Dick Harpootlian says Perry “offers the same opportunity for this country as George W. Bush. ” He issued this response in a press release.