He's stumbled his way through nearly every debate, including one of the most uncomfortable moments ever seen in a modern debate. He started his campaign leading the polls, only to drop to the bottom of the field. He learned that religious moralizing doesn't forgive a slight divergence from the Tea Party line on immigration. Despite Mitt Romney's inability to win over social conservatives and the clownish makeup of the rest of the field, there is little reason to believe Rick Perry can still win the Republican nomination.
Perry's only hope for a comeback was his massive fundraising apparatus, which was expected to easily dwarf any of the other candidates, save possibly Mitt Romney. He began using those funds to full effect after his "oops" hiccup at the debate last week, purchasing nearly $1 million in ads to run on Fox News nationally, and flooding the key early states with ads and mailers.
But that advantage has now disappeared alongside his drop in the poll numbers. The Houston Chronicle reports that Perry is set to raise only $3 million to $5 million in the fourth quarter. That's a precipitous drop from his $17 million haul in the third quarter, the first finance disclosure of his campaign. Since Perry entered the field after the start of the quarter, that $17 million was raised in just six weeks, while the next figures will cover three months of fundraisers. If that $3 million to $5 million pans out, Perry would draw less than his fellow Texan Representative Ron Paul, who raised $8 million in the third quarter, as well as Michele Bachmann's $4 million and Herman Cain's $3 million.
With his recent spending binge, that low intake might make it hard for Perry to keep running ads and paying his staff through all of the early primary states. Beyond those logistics, the drop in fundraising is an indication that the elites who clamored for Perry over the summer have dropped their interest in the Texas governor.