Rick Perry stops paying South Carolina staffers. Is he strapped for cash?

Reports that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is no longer paying some of his campaign staff has led to speculation that the presidential contender's campaign may have hit hard times.

Nati Harnik/AP/File
Republican presidential candidate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, July 18. Reports that Mr. Perry has stopped paying campaign staffers in South Carolina has sparked speculation that his campaign may be faltering.

The presidential campaign of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has stopped paying its staff in South Carolina, according to media reports.

The move to suspend the pay for his campaign staff has prompted speculation that the campaign may be experiencing funding woes. But Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed downplayed the move in a statement, "tough decisions have to be made in respect to both monetary and time-related resources."

"Governor Perry remains committed to competing in the early states and will continue to have a strong presence in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina," Ms. Nashed said. "The Governor is also looking forward to his trips to South Carolina this Thursday and to Iowa next week."

It is not clear if the pay suspensions, first reported on Monday by the National Journal, would be permanent or just temporary. In the mean time, some of Mr. Perry's South Carolina staffers said they would continue to work as volunteers, optimistic that the former governor's financial situation will improve.

"As far as I know, we still have a plan and we're still on track," said Sam Clovis, the campaign's Iowa state chairman.

Is he short on cash? According to reports, Perry raised only around $1 million in the second quarter, a far cry from GOP dominants like former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

In addition to the more than $1 million raised directly by the Perry campaign, Perry-supporting super PACs, raised $18 million.

Perry announced his second bid for the presidency in June and pundits predicted an uphill slog although he appears stronger than in 2012.

“He starts off behind the starting line; he’s got a lot to prove,” Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas in Austin told The Christian Science Monitor in June. But “I can say that he’s worked pretty assiduously to try to get up to speed on the issues this time. He shows no sign of quit, and he’s been able to marshal his financial supporters.”

Still, Mr. Buchanan added, “it’s going to be an uphill slog.”

Besides his fundraising concerns, Perry was demoted to the second-tier stage at the GOP's first debate last Thursday because his polling numbers were so low.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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