Earlier this morning, I read in the Star that Rick Perry was undecided if he was going to attend Wednesday's debate in Simi Valley at the Reagan Library due to the historic wildfires in his home state of Texas.
Also this morning, the Ventura County Republican Party announced that Rick Perry would appear at a meet-and-greet at the Camarillo airport immediately following the debate.
Is he going to come to Ventura County or isn't he?
The debate at the Reagan Library would be the first of Perry's presidential candidacy, were he to attend, and the national stage it will be on is very import for his campaign. However, as governor of a state that is experiencing the worst wildfire in its history, Perry does not want to be accused of putting his political ambitions over the welfare of Texans.
On the Early Show Tuesday morning, Perry said his focus was on the fires, but he called the situation "fluid."
However, as of noon, a Perry spokesman said he'll attend the debate after all.
Mark Miner, Perry's spokesman, said in a one-line email to USA Today's Jackie Kucinich Tuesday, that Perry plans to attend the GOP presidential debate. Previously, the Texas governor had said he wasn't sure if he would attend or not because of the raging wildfires plaguing Texas amid a prolonged drought.
Politically speaking, Perry will attempt to appear in control of the wildfire situation while briefly visiting California. Realistically, there's not much he can't do from here that he could do in Texas--it's not like he's going to be personally hosing down any fires no matter what state he's in. In-state rivals will use the opportunity to ding him a bit, but the payoff of a good performance in the national spotlight at the Simi Valley debate far exceeds any damage he'll incur by being absent.
That means that he'll presumably attend the county GOP meet-and-greet in Camarillo, which is interesting because that's in Romney territory. Romney campaigned for Tony Strickland in his State Senate campaign and endorsed him in last year's unsuccessful bid to become the state controller. Because Perry is in town doesn't mean that the county party is going to be endorsing him--the official email that went out carried a post-script that the meet-and-greet was not to be construed as an endorsement of any candidate.