Rick Perry is no longer the governor of Texas, he hasn't cracked the top tier of Republican presidential contenders and his likely rivals, including two with Texas roots, are competing aggressively for support in the Lone Star State's money scene.
But that hasn't stopped deep-pocketed Texas donors from getting behind Perry's expected candidacy. Perry held a series of receptions and private meetings with nearly 1,000 donors around the state this week, securing commitments to give to his eventual campaign as well as his super PAC.
The Opportunity and Freedom PAC, a group set up by Perry advisers to support his candidacy but work independently from his official campaign, raised more than $1 million this week in Texas, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the fundraising activity.
Perry wants to demonstrate that the Texas donor network he cultivated over 14 years as governor remains healthy now that he is out of office. He is facing competition for Texas campaign cash from Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor whose father and brother are former presidents from Texas, as well as from home state Sen. Ted Cruz.
But if his fundraising schedule from this week is any indication, Perry seems to be holding his own. He held sessions with donors in Fort Worth and San Antonio on Monday, in Center and Houston on Tuesday and in Midland and Dallas on Wednesday. In total, nearly 1,000 donors attended — including 100 at a luncheon at the Petroleum Club in Midland, where Bush was born — according to the Republican sources, who requested anonymity to describe Perry's fundraising activity.
At the stops, Perry gave a speech laying out his vision for the country while strategist Jeff Miller made a presentation and a Perry promotional video played. Austin Barbour, who runs the Perry super PAC, also attended and collected checks and commitments from donors for the outside effort, the sources said.
Perry's events were hosted by several big-name donors. His Wednesday evening reception was held at the Dallas home of Amy and Kelcy Warren, a prominent energy executive and philanthropist. Among the event's co-hosts, according to a copy of the invitation, were real estate developer Trammell S. Crow; tax services executive G. Brint Ryan and his wife, Amanda; and telecommunications executive Kenny Troutt and his wife, Lisa.