Now that Rick Perry is emerging as a potential serious candidate for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination, he is becoming the target of conservative groups, many of which back the potential candidacy of another Texan, Senator Ted Cruz, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
Veteran conservative activist Richard Viguerie today put out a statement to member of his 'Conservative HQ' organization, warning that "Rick Perry is not one of us."
"Governor Perry's friends are the enemies of conservatives," Viguerie declared.
Viguerie blasted Perry's hiring of veteran campaign operative Steve Schmidt. Schmidt was the John McCain campaign manager who was played by Woody Harrelson in the HBO movie 'Game Change,' being depicted as constantly trashing conservative heroine Sarah Palin.
"Not only has Perry recruited an anti-conservative onto his budding presidential campaign, but he has brought on one of the Tea Party movement's chief antagonists," Viguerie declared, referring to Mississippi activist Henry Barbour. "His role in the recent Mississippi GOP Senate primary race-baiting scandal may yet prove to be a major embarrassment to Perry as legal challenges to that election move forward."
"Hiring Barbour and Schmidt is a stupid choice that we would not expect Rick Perry, the tough-talking Governor of Texas to make, given the host of solid conservative political talent with Texas ties," Viguerie wrote.
Conservatives have long been suspicious of Perry, citing his long tenure as Texas governor, and his support for what conservatives see as Perry's 'big government' ideas, like the now defunct Trans Texas corridor.
Conservatives are also hoping that Cruz decides to enter the 2016 GOP Presidential race, siphoning money and Texas support away from Perry. Polls consistently show Cruz as much more popular than Perry among movement conservatives in Texas.
But there is also a concern that the recent indictment against Perry on abuse of office charges may help make Perry a 'martyr' and solidify his support among conservatives.