DES MOINES, Ia. - In a mad dash to the finish line in Iowa, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling in the cavalry by launching an "Iowa Strike Force" made of hundreds of volunteers from his home state. The first wave began arriving Friday.
One Task Force member tells Fox News there are at least 400 of them on the ground in Iowa right now, and he expects there to be 600 come caucus day.
Strike Force members are working closely with the campaign, calling likely caucus goers, and going door to door to help boost support.Others will serve as campaign surrogates at caucus sites, if an Iowan supporting Perry isn't available.
Outside support like this is not unique to the Perry campaign. Mike Huckabee brought in armies from all over the country in 2008. In 2004, college students decked out in orange hats canvassed the Hawkeye State for Howard Dean, and in 2000 George W. Bush also had bus loads of Texans sent into Iowa.
After the caucuses, it looks like Perry will focus his efforts on South Carolina, rather than New Hampshire. The Perry camp sent out release saying the governor will take his campaign to the Palmetto State on January 4th, but will still participate in two back-to-back debates in New Hampshire on January 7th and 8th.A Task Force member also tells Fox he believes some Iowa volunteers will head to South Carolina as well, but none will travel to New Hampshire.
Back here in Iowa, Perry is battling with Rick Santorum and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for the undecided evangelical vote. As Santorum's poll numbers have risen lately, Perry has stepped up his attacks on the man he calls "addicted to earmarks."
Today at an event in Fort Dodge, Iowa Perry claimed, "If you truly want to overhaul Washington, dc you can't do that with a senator who's voted to raise the debt ceiling 8 different times."
"I gotta ask Rick, what is so important that compelled you to add greater debt to our children's charge card. What was it that was so important, was it the bridge to nowhere you voted for? Was it the Montana sheep institute you voted for? Was it the Iowa rain forest you voted for? Was it support for the greatest entitlement program since Lyndon Johnson's great society which is Medicaid part d? Now, rick is defending those earmarks on the principle of federalism. But pork barrell spending where senators, they scratch one another's backs is not, federalism, it's about fleecing the American public."
The Perry campaign claims its still gaining momentum on the second leg of it's Iowa Bus tour. The First Lady of Texas however is keeping expectations in check. Asked at an event today what she would focus on as first lady of the United States, Anita Perry said,"We have so much work to get there that I'm not measuring the drapes. But it would truly be an honor and a pleasure for me to be in that role."
Fox News Producer Nick Kalman contributed to this story.