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A Texas Tradition -- Big Bucks, Few Delegates A Texas Tradition -- Big Bucks, Few Delegates

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A Texas Tradition -- Big Bucks, Few Delegates

It must be a Texas thing. Barring a big rebound in South Carolina, Gov. Rick Perry is at risk of joining two other Texans in the political hall of fame for most dollars spent for the least results. The reigning champion is former Gov. John Connally, who famously spent almost $12 million for a single delegate in the1980 presidential campaign, Ada Mills of Arkansas.

Then, along came Sen. Phil Gramm in 1996. He started his campaign raising more than $4 million at a single dinner and boasting that "ready money is the mother's milk of politics." Gramm had lots of ready money. But things dried up for him pretty quickly. His campaign was dead even before he got to Iowa when he was defeated in the Louisiana caucuses by Patrick Buchanan. After finishing fifth in Iowa, he dropped out after having spent more than $21 million for ten delegates.

Now, it's Perry's turn. And he seems to be following in the Texas tradition of Connally, Gramm and former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (who flamed out in 1976, though without the excess spending of the others). Perry spent more than $6 million in Iowa, but finished a weak fifth with only 10.3 percent of the vote. Lots of money, but no delegates since the caucuses only send people to a county convention. Actual national convention delegates will not be apportioned until the state party convention June 16.

That took Perry into New Hampshire. Sort of. His name was on the ballot. But he was there only for debates, preferring to make his stand in South Carolina. The result was not pretty for Perry. While Romney drew 97,000 votes, Perry could not crack 2,000, getting less than one percent of the vote. And no delegates -- making South Carolina possibly his last chance to get that first delegate and avoid breaking Connally's record.

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