Rick Perry begins a two-day jaunt into South Carolina Tuesday with four meetings in the conservative Upstate, including a state party dinner in Spartanburg.
But his 2012 Palmetto State chairman is convinced that one event will overwhelmingly dominate media coverage: The Texas governor’s fundraiser for a local Boy Scout troop.
“You know what the news is going to come out of that one. I know what’s coming out of that one, which is a statement on the homosexuality and the Boy Scouts. That’s going to overwhelm the story but there’s a little bigger story to that,” said Katon Dawson, a former state party chairman and Perry’s top liaison in the state in the run up to the 2012 South Carolina primary.
Perry expressed “great disappointment” earlier this year about the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift a long-standing ban on allowing gay Scouts.
Dawson said the governor was eager to help when he put in a request from the Boy Scouts for Perry to help raise money.
“It would be easier to miss the Boy Scouts than come do that, but he said, ‘They need my help, I’ll be there,’” Dawson said.
Before Tuesday evening’s dinner, Perry is also slated to address a local Rotary Club. On Wednesday morning he’ll speak to an Electric Co-Op Board.
But Dawson frets that Perry’s views on homosexuality will be too juicy of a story for journalists to resist.
“I do, that’s an easy story. Especially for lazy journalists, that one’s easy,” he said.
Asked if he believed gay issues would haunt Republicans through the next presidential election, Dawson replied, “I don’t know if haunts us, it’s going to be part of the discussion, you can not avoid it, especially when you start running through the Bible Belt.”