Sam Clovis quits as Rick Perry's Iowa chair: Where will he land? (updated)

Former U.S. Senate and state treasurer candidate Sam Clovis has quit as Iowa chair of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign, Catherine Lucey reported for the Associated Press yesterday. An influential figure for social conservatives, Clovis backed Rick Santorum before the 2012 caucuses but ruled him out early this year. When he signed on with the Perry campaign in June, Clovis told the Washington Post that he had seriously considered Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and business leaders Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. Yesterday Philip Rucker quoted Clovis as saying he will pick a new candidate soon.

My money’s on Cruz, for several reasons.

UPDATE: The joke’s on me! I thought Clovis sincerely believed in conservative principles, but he signed on as Trump’s national co-chairman. More details are at the end of this post. Just for fun, I included comments Clovis made when endorsing Santorum on 2011. He must have changed his criteria for candidates, because the standards he listed four years ago don’t apply to Trump in any way, shape, or form.

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Stop pretending Donald Trump is a real presidential candidate

Donald Trump spent today in central Iowa, hanging out with Iowa House and Senate members at the state Capitol and speaking to college students in Indianola. I don’t care how many “advisers” Trump hires here, and I don’t care how many hints he drops about running for president (see video from his press conference). This guy is a publicity hound, not a serious candidate. His name recognition is sky-high, yet he drew support from only 1 percent of respondents in the last Des Moines Register poll of Iowa Republicans by Selzer & Co.

Reading Brianne Pfannenstiel’s Des Moines Register story on Trump’s event at Simpson College, it’s clear the would-be candidate can’t answer basic policy questions without turning the conversation back to himself. According to WHO-TV’s report, Trump provided few policy details in Indianola. Anyone can promise to “end ObamaCare and replace it with something terrific,” and promise to end America’s debt crisis while increasing military spending. Show us the money.

The most interesting thing about Trump’s pseudo-campaign is that the billionaire was able to hire Chuck Laudner. A legend on the Iowa GOP’s social conservative wing, Laudner used to work for Representative Steve King, was active in the 2010 campaign against retaining three Iowa Supreme Court justices, ran Rick Santorum’s 2012 Iowa caucuses effort, then led the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Sam Clovis. I wouldn’t have pegged him for a Trump guy.

Speaking of Santorum, he’s in Iowa again this week. But Laudner’s decision to join Trump of all people is another sign that Santorum has little chance to repeat his strong Iowa caucus showing.  

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