You can add one more battle in the war between presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich: the fight for former candidate Rick Perry’s top bundlers, Politico
Both remaining candidates are attracting Perry's big-money men. The Texas governor hauled in more than $17 million in the third quarter of last year. Perry endorsed former House Speaker Gingrich when he dropped out of the race last week.
Two of Perry's top Texas-based donors, Roy Bailey and Jim Lee, sent an e-mail to their donor network earlier this week indicating they’ll back the Gingrich campaign.
"Following Gov. Perry’s exit, Jim and I have been in close contact with the Gingrich camp," Bailey wrote in the e-mail, obtained by Politico. "Jim and I are taking Gov. Perry’s lead. We have spoken with his campaign manager, national finance director, and Speaker Gingrich, himself.”
As you might expect, the Gingrich campaign is eager to have the financial heavyweights on its side.
“They really want us to join their efforts,” Bailey wrote. “There is plenty of room at the table, and they welcome all our help. Jim and I in no way intend to speak or act on behalf of anyone with Team Perry. If we decide to go his direction, we may be able to serve as a conduit for those who want to join up with Newt."
Bailey says the two plan to proceed at a deliberate pace. "We want to take this slow and thoughtfully,” he wrote. “We could make a big impact for Newt’s campaign if we organize and coordinate properly with them.”
Additional endorsements may be coming for Gingrich that would add weight to their decision, Bailey said. “Please let us know if you’re interested in discussing this further,” he wrote. “If so, perhaps we’ll schedule a conference call in the next few days. We know that we’re all in agreement that we have to defeat President Obama in November."
Meanwhile, another of Perry’s money men, Dirk Van Dongen, a Washington-based lobbyist, told Politico that he ran quickly to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign after Perry’s withdrawal. Van Dongen has a substantial network of donors behind him and was one of Perry's first supporters in Washington, D.C., along with former Ambassador Peter Terpeluk.
Money becomes more important as primaries shift to bigger states, like the Jan. 31 contest in Florida, where it’s difficult to have an impact with retail campaigning and TV ad time is expensive.
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