THE BLOG

Perry assembles extraordinary bundler ranks in early weeks of campaign

08/30/2011 04:46 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2011

Rick Perry's GOP presidential campaign has rapidly assembled an impressive roster of bundlers who have each signed up to bring in sums ranging from $50,000 to $500,000.

Two veteran fundraisers for the Perry campaign, in interviews with iWatch News , put the number of recruited bundlers at more than 400 and as high as 1,000. A third said the number was "multiples" of President Obama's bundlers.

The Obama campaign listed 271 bundlers who had raised $50,000 or more at the end of June, accounting for about 40 percent of the $86 million that the campaign collected jointly with the Democratic National Committee.

The Perry campaign appears to have made huge strides, considering it is less than a month old.

"The Perry campaign is off to a fast start on the finance side," Mississippian Henry Barbour, who has pledged to raise $500,000, told iWatch News . At this early stage, Barbour added, it looks like the campaign "will be able to perform at a similar level, if not exceed, what Bush did in 2000 and McCain did in 2008. It's impressive."

Tuesday night in Dallas, at the chic Fairmont Hotel, Perry's fundraising firepower will be out in force. An A-list of Texas donors and money rustlers have signed up as Dallas hosts including a few billionaires or near billionaires like: buyout mogul Harold Simmons, Ross Perot Jr. of the eponymous Perot Group and leveraged buyout executive Tom Hicks.

The Dallas event is one of several slated for this week in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. On Monday, two fundraisers were held in Oklahoma including one in Oklahoma City where the legendary Sooner football coach Barry Switzer was a host.

This money marathon is part of the campaign's drive to quickly raise $10 million, mostly out of the Lone Star state, say Perry fundraisers. To achieve that goal the bundlers will be crucial since individual donations are limited to $2,500 per election.

Asked how many bundlers the campaign had signed up, campaign spokesman Mark Miner, said, "We're not going to comment on our fundraising strategy and goals." Miner said no decision has been made about publicly releasing the names of bundlers, as the Obama campaign has done but no Republican campaigns thus far.

Since mid- August when Perry announced he was running, his campaign has lured away some Romney bundlers to work for the Texas governor. At least two Florida bundlers for Romney, businessmen Anthony Leon and Jim Holton, have moved over to help Perry. Further, insurance executive A.K. Desai, a leading Florida fundraiser for Romney in 2008, has agreed to host an event for Perry on Sept. 13 in the Tampa area.

Next month Perry is scheduled to do several fundraisers in California, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Some veteran fundraisers in Texas give it high marks.