Buying of the President

Published — June 4, 2015 Updated — October 23, 2015 at 9:52 am ET

12 things to know about Rick Perry


Update, Sept. 11, 2015: Rick Perry has decided to end his 2016 presidential bid.

Republican Rick Perry was the longest-serving governor in Texas history, which means he knows how to raise money.

That wasn’t enough to rescue his 2012 presidential bid, which fell apart in the wake of verbal stumbles that cast the onetime Air Force pilot as unprepared and unpresidential.

This time, the former governor who decided against running for re-election in 2014, starts as an underdog. His status as the only potential candidate currently under indictment won’t help, though his supporters dismiss the charges against him as purely political. The case stems from Perry’s threats to veto money for a statewide public integrity unit unless the prosecutor leading it stepped down after being arrested for drunk driving.

Perry is also facing a fight for the Texas contributors who have long lined up to support him. Rivals with their own Texas ties include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who can draw on the Bush family’s long association with the Lone Star State; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, whose father, former Rep. Ron Paul, was a member of the Texas congressional delegation.

Here’s more on Perry’s political and financial history:

  • Rick Perry raised almost $20 million for his last presidential bid — a fraction of what he’ll need this time. But he’s raised $136 million over his career.
  • More than half of the money for Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign came from Texas and all 10 of the top ZIP codes for Perry contributors were in Texas.
  • Rick Perry’s last presidential bid relied heavily on male donors, with about two-thirds of the contributions coming from men.
  • Rick Perry’s top individual contributors have been Harold Simmons and Bob Perry, along with their wives. Both men, however, are now dead.
  • Rick Perry has been criticized for accepting free flights and his reporting of such gifts during his 2012 presidential bid questioned.
  • Rick Perry’s appointees were revealed to have donated millions of dollars to the governor and his economic development fund gave millions to political contributors.
  • As governor, Rick Perry vetoed a bill aimed at requiring politically active nonprofits to disclose their donors.
  • Super PAC Make Us Great Again spent nearly $4 million backing Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign.
  • That super PAC gave its leftover money to a nonprofit, Americans for Economic Freedom, formed by Perry supporters. Its board includesCarly Fiorina, a current rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
  • Big GOP donors such as Georgette Mosbacher and Bob Murray of Murray Energy reportedly serve on the advisory board of Rick Perry’s political action committee.
  • Rick Perry’s PAC raised more than $300,000 during the 2014 election cycle.
  • Rick Perry’s PAC doled out $61,500 to pols in NH ahead of the 2014 election and $30,900 in Iowa.

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, as well as the Center for Responsive Politics, Dallas Morning News, Federal Election Commission, Houston Chronicle, the National Institute for Money in State Politics, New York Times, Texans for Public Justice, and Washington Post.

Image sources: Ed Schipul/Flickr; Phelan Edenhack/AP; Mark Humphrey/AP; Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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