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Report: Rick Perry Trailing in 2016 Money Game

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 09:18 PM

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is facing tough competition for funds from Lone Star State Republicans as he considers a second bid for the White House.

And the challenges in the money race come from such declared and potential contenders as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — as well as from Perry's indictment last year on felony abuse-of-power charges, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"He has this sword hanging over his head," Ross McKnight, a Texas businessman who gave $100,000 to a pro-Perry super PAC in 2011, told the Journal. "We need to nominate someone who is electable, and Rick is not electable until he gets rid of the indictment."

Perry, 65, who stepped down in January as Texas' longest-serving governor, told Newsmax TV last month that he would make a decision on whether he was running for the nomination no later than "the first of June."

He has slammed the criminal indictment as politically motivated. It concerns his 2013 veto of funding to a public corruption program overseen by Democratic District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. An appeal filed by Perry's lawyers to an Austin court is pending.

Other donors cited the former governor's failed 2012 presidential bid for playing the waiting game.

"I supported him last time, but he flamed out on us," Darwin Deason, a Dallas computer executive, told the Journal. He referenced the time when Perry forgot the name of one of the three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate during a debate in 2011.

The businessman donated $250,000 to a pro-Perry super PAC that year — and he told the Journal that he would hold back any large sums until the former governor was a front-runner.

"He's not now, and I'm not inclined to jump in there and get him in the running," Deason said.

But Perry's supporters say the large number of wealthy donors in Texas will make it easy for him to effectively raise money for any new bid. These include many now sitting in powerful positions they had been named to by Perry, the Journal reports.

"Texas is a big state," said Austin Barbour, a senior adviser to the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, a pro-Perry group formed earlier this year. "There are a lot of wealthy and generous people."

Barbour declined to tell the Journal how much the PAC has raised.

Jeff Miller, one of Perry's top advisers, said the former governor was also successfully raising money in New York, California, Florida, and other states.

"There is zero doubt in my mind that if the governor decides to pull the trigger, he'll raise enough money to win the nomination," he told the Journal.

Within five months of announcing his 2012 bid, Perry's campaign had raised about $20 million, the Journal reports, and the pro-Perry PAC Make Us Great Again had brought in more than $5 million.

Jim Schwertner, who owns a Texas farming company that donated $100,000 to a pro-Perry PAC in 2011, said he was firmly committed to Perry.

"I believe in Rick Perry," he told the Journal. "He has done great things for the state of Texas."

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is facing tough competition for funds from Lone Star State Republicans as he considers a second bid for the White House.
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Wednesday, 06 May 2015 09:18 PM
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