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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Perry's Fla campaign taking shape



While Michele Bachmann was in the midst of a three day swing through Florida Saturday, the fledgling Rick Perry Florida campaign started revving up in Tampa. About 50 GOP activists, some driving as far as Brevard and Collier Counties, gathered at the law offices of Terri Gaffney for the first grass roots Perry campaign meeting.


"I spoke to Rick Perry Thurday night," said Wes Maddox, a GOP activist in Tampa who went to Texas A&M with Perry. "He said, "You tell them (in Florida) help is on the way. That's what the governor's message is - help is on the way."
Veteran Tallahassee-based GOP consultants Randy Enwright and Jim Rimes will be leading the Florida effort, Maddox said, while Nick Hansen, an aide to state Rep. Jeff Brandes and former Mitt Romney campaign operative is likely to have a senior role in the campaign.
Among those on hand for the grassroots Perry meeting were Jason Rodriguez, former political director for Pam Bondi's attorney general campaign and Brandes, who predicted many or most of Tim Pawlenty's prominent Florida supporters would wind up with Perry.
"There are excellent candidates, but Perry is the one who can unite the tripod of the party - the fiscal conservatives, the social conservatives, and the foreign policy conservatives,'' said Josh Burgin, an activist in Hillsborough.
"Perry doesn't hasn't changed his positions 20 times like Romney," said Brevard county talk show host Ed Dean.

[Last modified: Saturday, August 27, 2011 7:34pm]


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