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Vote for Peace

James Rick Perry

Candidate Profile, Ad Strategy and Design
2016 Presidential Campaign

Justin DiCharia
MC 3510, Political Communication Research
Professor York
May 8, 2014
Candidate Profile
James Rick Perry

Political Party: Republican
Age: 64
Spouse: Anita Thigpen
Residence: Paint Creek, Texas

Texas A&M University, B.A., in Animal

Children: 2
Position: Governor of Texas
Religion: Nondenominational Christianity

Perry was born in Texas. He is the son of Joseph Ray Perry and Amelia June Holt. He received
a B.A. in Animal Science from the Texas A & M University. Perry married Anita Thigpen in
1982, and had two children, Sydney and Griffin. After graduating from college in 1972, Perry
joined the Air Force and piloted a C-130 tactical airlift. Perry left the Air Force as a Captain in
1977, and joined his father in the farming business.

Perry entered the Texas House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1984. He supported Gore
during the Democratic presidential primaries of 1988. In 1989, Perry left the Democratic Party
and joined the Republican Party, and in 1990, he ran against Republican incumbent Jim
Hightower for the position of Agricultural Commissioner. As agricultural commissioner, Perry
worked to widen the market available for Texas farm goods. Perry remained the Agricultural
Commissioner until he was elected as the Lieutenant Governor of Texas under George W. Bush.

Perry assumed the role of governor when Bush became President in 2000. He was elected again
three separate times, and is currently serving out his third term. Throughout Perrys terms as
Governor he maintained relatively steady approval ratings until his failed presidential run in
2012. Perry ran in the 2012 Republican primary against frontrunners Mitt Romney, Newt
Gingrich and Rick Santorum. His Presidential bid went downhill after his misstep in a
presidential debate where he was not able to name the third agency he wanted to cut spending on.
Perrys approval ratings were at an all-time low, plummeting to 40 percent of Texans approving
of his work as governor. Perry recently announced that he would not run for reelection in the
2014 Texas gubernatorial race. Rumors have begun of a possible 2016 run for the presidency.

Electoral History
Party Popular Vote Vote Share

TX Lt. Gubernatorial 1998
Rick Perry Republican 1,858,837 50.04%
John Sharp Democrat 1,790,106 48.19%

TX Gubernatorial 2002
Rick Perry* Republican 2,632,591 57.80 %
Tony Sanchez Democrat 1,819,798 39.96%

TX Gubernatorial 2006
Rick Perry* Republican 1,716,792 39.02%
Chris Bell

TX Gubernatorial 2010
Rick Perry*
Bill White







Note: Vote share may not sum to 100% due to third party candidate not listed or rounding.
*Indicates Incumbent
Note: Winner(s) Bolded

Strengths & Weaknesses:

Governor Rick Perry is still experiencing the negative effects from his presidential run in 2012.
With approval ratings low within his own state and a poor image nationwide, Perry has more to
overcome than what he started off with in 2012. An unsuccessful presidential bid in 2016 would
deplete the soon-to-be former governors political capital. Poll numbers have Perry at only 8
percent support from republicans and independents that lean toward the GOP. He faces a long
list of possible opponents in the GOP primary including Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rick
Santorum, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Mike Huckabee.

Perry does have the advantage of running a state with a flourishing economy. The governor
claims that his fiscal policies have kept Texas safe from the damage caused by the recession in
2008. Perry also signed into law a series of tort reforms to keep certain lawsuits deemed
frivolous out of the courts, especially those involving malpractice suits. Perry oversaw a 43
percent increase in education while in the governors office, including a $2,000 raise in teachers
salaries and higher funding for classroom materials. Perry also funded measures to increase
border security in his 14 years as governor.

The governor takes a strong stance on abortion, which is a positive attribute for Republican
voters. He recently signed legislation that bans abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy
(HB2). However, the governor takes many positions that are highly unpopular to moderates.
Perry stands against same-sex marriage, issuing a statement after a Dallas court struck down the
states definition of marriage being between a man and a woman. Perry also holds strong views
on gun rights. He reduced the required number of hours for concealed handgun license training
(SB 864), established a law allowing teachers and administrators to carry firearms at schools
(SB17), and authorized guns to be allowed in vehicles on college campuses (SB1907). Perry
also stated in an interview that he is against bans on weapons with higher magazines and that
increased background checks are not needed for gun owners.

Advertising Strategy

Perry is still at a weak and unpopular position amongst the GOP and moderates nationally.
Perrys strong conservative positions will not be popular with moderates in a general election. If
Perry were to make it through the Republican Primary and reach the national election, the
Warren campaign should focus on Perrys stance on guns as it is a nationally sensitive topic. An
attack advertisement on Rick Perry with implicit cues of fear is the best option to persuade the
target audience: moderates (Brader, 2006).

Moderates typically are less politically knowledgeable and less politically involved than
partisans, which is connected to their use of entertainment television, rather than watching the
news (Prior, 2007). Therefore, the advertisement should maintain simple cues that allow low-
involvement voters to put forth minimal effort in candidate comparisons (Lipsitz, Tross,
Grossmann, & Sides, 2005).

Ken Smith (2005) reports on the primacy of emotions in processing all communication. Smith
argues that according to Perception Theory emotionally laced imagery will create a
subconscious processing of the communication and affect future actions of the individual. An
attack advertisement with black and white imagery of children at school shootings paired with
ominous music, with the purpose of eliciting fear, and contrasted with colorful images of Rick
Perry would create a subconscious, emotional connection between the shootings and Rick
Perrys stance on guns (Brader, 2006).

The Advertisement should be released early on in the election, quite possibly during the
Republican primaries, if Perry seems to be a clear winner for the nomination. In order to
persuade the moderates, the campaign must release the advertisement at a time where a majority
of voters do not have opinions of the candidate (Ridout & Franz, 2011). In order to resist
backlash from the attack advertisement, Ridout & Franz (2011) suggest that successful negative
advertisements should remain focused on issues relevant to campaign discussion, which for the
2016 election would be gun control. Brader (2005) evidenced his hypothesis that fear increases
attention and information seeking through experimentation, finding that music and images are
the way utilize fear cues.

After the situational analysis and research analysis, I created an issues-based advertisement that
focuses on Rick Perrys extreme stance on guns: no gun control at all. Images from the Sandy
Hook, Columbine, and Virginia Tech school shootings edited to black and white colors are
contrasted with colorful pictures of Rick Perry happily holding a gun, menacingly aiming a high
magazine weapon, and standing behind an armory of weapons in a weapons store. Brader (2005)
used images of happy, colorful images of children and patriotic music to evoke enthusiasm cues,
and black and white images of violence and drug use for the negative advertisements with fear
cues. I posited that black and white images of children in distress would also provoke fear cues
that would be even stronger than those created by violence and drug use. I used John Williams
Anakins betrayal from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to add to the suspense
and emotional appeal of the imagery.

I believed that mobilizing and winning the moderate voters in the 2016 election was necessary to
defeat the GOP candidate Rick Perry, and a negative ad with fear cues would persuade voters
into gaining more information on his gun policies and switch over to the Warren camp (Brader,
2005). Warren is not as big of a national figure as Rick Perry, and persuading the voters to look
closely into Perrys stances will allow them to also look into Warrens stances, raising her
political profile.


Considering findings that in challenger campaigns advertisements are more effective, and the
fact that Warren is not well known and could essentially be classified as a challenger, Vote for
Peace be in the months leading up to the general election when voters begin to tune in to the
presidential news coverage. This would persuade voters against Rick Perry and point them in the
direction of a largely unknown Warren.

Due to the advertisements emphasis on children, it should be focused toward 35-44-year-olds,
the age where people are most likely to have children. The advertisement should use a
combination of online and television networks as venues, especially focusing on family friendly
prime time channels.


Brader, T. (2006). Campaigning for hearts and minds: How emotional appeals in political ads
work. University of Chicago Press.

Brader, T. (2005). Striking a Responsive Chord: How Political Ads Motivate and Persuade
Voters by Appealing to Emotions. American Journal Of Political Science, 49(2), 388-

Lipsitz, K., Trost, C., Grossmann, M., & Sides, J. (2005). What Voters Want From Political
Campaign Communication. Political Communication, 22(3), 337-354.

Prior, Markus. (2007). Post-Broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in
Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ridout, T. N., & Franz, M. M. (2011). The persuasive power of campaign advertising. Temple
University Press.

Smith, K. (2005). Handbook of Visual Communication : Theory, Methods, and Media. Mahwah,
N.J.: L. Erlbaum.