Texas Gov. Rick Perry hopes to quiet doubts about his political endurance with a blockbuster report of his third-quarter fundraising, which some Perry donors say should be about $10 million.
"I expect Perry will announce $10 million raised, and that will have a major impact," said one Perry associate and fundraiser. Such a total would rock the GOP race, since he's only been in the contest for slightly over six weeks. In the last full quarter, front-runner Mitt Romney reported $18 million in donations, but that was over three months.
Plus, say associates eager to change the media theme that the governor is not up for a national race, Perry is ramping up his debate preparations and adding to his communications effort in a bid to cement his top-tier status that's now being challenged by others like surging Herman Cain.
Perry has been battered by mediocre debate performances and, lately, news reports of racial insensitivity due to a hunting camp his family leased that had the N-word in its title several years ago. Perry has said that the family, which never owned the property, painted over the name. Many of his supporters feel that the stories about the ranch are overblown, but they are pleased that they surfaced now and not before the primary and caucus season started next January.
Perry associates say that a big fundraising figure should go a long way to proving that he is in the race for the long-run and that he has substantial financial backing. He also wants to prove that he is just as successful as Romney in the money game.
He has recently stepped up his game, attacking Romney and the president's policies. Associates believe that he is on the comeback and in time to settle in for the compressed caucus and primary schedule.
"Perry is already coming back," says one insider. "He is fighting back effectively."