This story comes to us courtesy of California Watch.
The news this week that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is all but certain to enter the Republican presidential field has no doubt come as welcome news to some conservative Californians.
After all, it was a Californian – state Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Chico – who made headlines earlier this year by forming a committee designed to draft Perry into the race. And it was another Californian – La Jolla businessman Robert Schuman – who even more recently formed another committee in the hopes of wooing voters to Perry’s camp.
Looking at the historical record, this enthusiasm for the Texas governor should come as no surprise. Perry long has had his share of admirers in the Golden State, according to Texas campaign finance records.
Since he was elected governor in 2000, Perry – who is known as a prolific fundraiser – has brought in more than $457,000 from California donors – many of them political committees and interest groups with a stake in business causes.
Oil and gas giant Chevron, aerospace manufacturer Northrop Grumman, the engineering company Fluor, and computing powerhouse Hewlett-Packard each gave more than $10,000 to Perry’s campaigns.
Some of the largest individual donations he received – at $25,000 each – came from the wife of billionaire banker Roland Arnall and Tustin developer Richard Hall. Billionaire Alex Spanos, a major Republican benefactor and owner of the San Diego Chargers, also contributed $15,000 in 2008.
It’s worth noting that Texas does not have campaign contribution limits. Donations of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars are not unheard of. Perry alone received at least 10 contributions exceeding $100,000, with the largest being two half-million-dollar checks from the Republican Governors Association.
Relations between some prominent California Republicans and the Texas governor have not always been rosy. During her campaign last year, former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was fond of fretting that Texas’ comparatively lower tax rates were luring jobs from California.
Whitman also is a protégé of another GOP presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and is playing a lead role in his fundraising operations. As we have noted, Romney is expected to be a formidable fundraiser in California, in part due to his longstanding personal and business ties to the state.
However, as our friends at the San Francisco Chronicle noted yesterday morning, Republicans in California’s wealthy conservative bastion of Orange County are becoming quite excited about Perry’s candidacy.
Click here for a list of Rick Perry's California donors (at the bottom of the page).
Chase Davis is an investigative reporter for California Watch, a project of the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting. Find more California Watch stories here.