Rick Perry needs to move fast in the presidential money chase to capitalize on his strong suit: the army of large donors who have raised more than $100 million for his gubernatorial campaigns since 2001.
Dozens of wealthy Texans who have been Perry's top patrons in the state's freewheeling, unregulated campaign finance landscape are being hit up for six-figure checks by Super PACs supporting the governor. Simultaneously, many wealthy Perry backers and new prospects are being tapped by his campaign to help bundle scores of $2,500 donations, the legal limit per person.
The Republican governor is being backed by at least six Super PACs. The key group, called Make Us Great Again, has the closest ties to Perry and is expected to be a multimillion-dollar operation that will run ads to back him. It was set up this month by Mike Toomey, an Austin lobbyist and an ex Perry chief of staff. It will also benefit from the fundraising muscle of G. Brint Ryan, the CEO of a Dallas tax firm who with his wife has donated $563,000 since 2001 to Perry's campaigns.
"I'd presume that the way for fellow travelers to compensate for a late start is to raise big money fast for a Super PAC. Mike and Brint have a wide range of contacts," Austin-based lobbyist Bill Miller told iWatch News. His firm HillCo's PAC contributed more than $253,000 to Perry's earlier campaigns.
Reporters Josh Israel and Alexandra Duszak also contributed to this story