Countdown to Iowa

Let's review where the Republican contenders are now that there are less than two weeks to go until the first GOP caucus in Iowa on January 3.

Let's review where the Republican contenders are now that there are less than two weeks to go until the first GOP caucus in Iowa on January 3. Actually what happens in Iowa could just confuse the race for a GOP nominee further, say veteran campaigners.

First there's former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who is still performing in the double digits in terms of GOP voter approval - nationally and in Iowa - but he has blown his one-time lead already. Instead, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has overtaken his GOP competitors for the lead in Iowa, where he is even performing well with evangelical Christians in the state, surprising many who believed his Mormon faith would pose a significant obstacle with this voting bloc.

RedState believes that the internationally challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry can still make a comeback and might even be the best man to beat Obama next fall. He also praises the governor's communications director in a sort of "most improved" backhand compliment sort of way.

He is the communications director and, having worked both inside and outside campaigns, it has struck me that the Perry campaign's messaging is erratic — much improved, but still erratic.

But I have to tip my hat to Ray Sullivan and the Perry campaign. Despite my criticisms of Ray, he sent out my post yesterday from the Perry campaign leaving my criticisms in tact.

An amateur campaign does not do that. It takes a lot of testicular fortitude to be willing to do that as a candidate and as a communications shop within a campaign.

Well there's nothing more to add to that statement, except that Perry is tied with former US senator Rick Santorum who just picked up a key evangelical endorsement, at 10% support in Iowa.

Then we have the other wild cards: Texas Congressman Ron Paul is making a surprise surge in Iowa where he has 20% of the vote, according to a recent Rasmussen poll that showed him just behind Romney (25%), but ahead of Gingrich (17%). This, of course, is causing a complete identity crisis for the GOP faithful. And don't forget about Michelle Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota who is still being begged to drop out.

After your holidays, check back at PRWeekus.com next week to see predictions for Iowa results through to Super Tuesday by public affairs and PR professionals.

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