I’ve never been excited about Rick Perry. Apparently, more and more Republicans are starting to feel the same way. Perry’s frontrunner status is tenous, as all front runner status’ are this far out from the general election, and now many Republicans are questioning his strength as a candidate.
Republicans in early voting states, once excited about the Texas governor’s presidential bid, are openly questioning the strength of his candidacy. High expectations have been met by the sudden national scrutiny that comes with the front-runner bull’s-eye.
Perry is leading national polls, but he is also facing intensifying criticism from the right and left. Some Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire are expressing doubts, especially after debates in which rivals raised questions about his record on immigration, public health and Social Security retirement benefits.
The campaign dismisses the criticism. After all, supporters say, he entered the presidential race just six weeks ago.
Things looked rosier then. Perry arrived to great fanfare and seemed poised to steal significant support from his top rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Many influential Republican activists saw Perry, with his executive experience and good jobs record, as an attractive alternative to Romney, who has struggled to win over conservatives who make up a sizeable portion of the party base.
Since then, the Texan has campaigned repeatedly in New Hampshire and Iowa, states that host the nation’s first presidential voting contests in roughly four months.