Inhofe Endorses Perry, Djou Backs Romney

Inhofe Endorses Perry, Djou Backs Romney

By Erin McPike - August 29, 2011

As the Republican presidential primary season heats up, the battle for endorsements is getting hotter, too.

The leading Republican presidential candidates have announced a series of leadership teams in each of the early nominating states, and they are quick to trumpet local officials and state legislators on those teams. But to date, major endorsements from U.S. senators, governors and other high-profile officials have been few.

One of the first big gets of the season went to Rick Perry on Monday. The Texan traveled to Tulsa, Okla., to announce the support of Sen. Jim Inhofe, a staunch conservative who will lend Perry more credibility with the far right.

In remarks announcing his endorsement, Inhofe said that Perry’s “record as Texas governor proves that he knows you grow the economy with less government by controlling spending, cutting taxes, reforming tort laws and reducing regulatory red tape for employers.”

He added, “One of the important areas is reining in over-regulation. Rick Perry is strong against the cap-and-trade tax that would further devastate our economy and do nothing but move jobs overseas to places like China. He is one of the few who understand this, and he won’t cave in to the extreme environmental activists or the Hollywood crowd and their liberal agenda.”

Inhofe had hinted at his announcement last week by raising doubts about Romney and offering praise for Perry, making the event something of a formality. Still, it’s one of the first significant endorsements of this cycle.

For his part, Romney can count on the support of a home-state colleague, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who was elected to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat in early 2010 in an election that captured national attention by showing the power of the Tea Party even in a liberal mecca like the Bay State.

Earlier this year Romney also announced that Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman will support him, too. Heineman could be helpful in neighboring Iowa, which shares a media market with the Cornhusker State.

And on Monday, former Hawaii Rep. Charles Djou endorsed the former Massachusetts governor. Djou won a special election in 2010 but did not win a full term in the November midterm elections. He is running again next year in the state’s 1st Congressional District.

But the bulk of senators, congressmen and governors remain up for grabs and will be courted heavily by both of the leading candidates -- and the rest of the field -- in the coming months. 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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