Is it 2016 already?
Sounds that way from a news release Thursday from the state Republican Party, which announced recently indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be in Columbia to headline a state GOP fundraiser on Wednesday, Aug. 27. Tickets are $25 for the 5:30 p.m. "Victory Tailgate" at First Citizens Cafe. For $100, donors can take their picture with the Texas governor - who even Democrats agreed takes an excellent mug shot. For $250, donors' names will be included in the event signage, according to the fundraiser's invitation. And of course they get a picture with the governor, too.
Perry leaves a bitter political battle at home, where he has been indicted for delivering on a veto threat.
"We are happy to welcome Gov. Rick Perry back to South Carolina," said SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore in a statement. "Our grassroots activists and party leaders stand strongly behind Gov. Perry - and they've made it clear with their overwhelming response to this event. It's going to be a packed house."
Perry hasn't yet said whether he'll run again for president, but an early, public visit to South Carolina, which hosts the first southern primary, is always a good sign on which way a candidate is leaning.
The GOP fundraiser comes the night before the USC-Texas A&M game, which Perry is expected to attend, and the S.C. House's tentatively scheduled special session on Wednesday may also add to the swell of politicos in town. No word yet on whether Gov. Nikki Haley will attend the fundraiser.