With Rick Perry out of the 2016 presidential race, a former top staffer to Texas' longest-serving governor is joining the White House campaign of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Ray Sullivan, who was Perry's chief of staff from 2009-2011, announced Thursday he has signed up with Bush's campaign in a yet-to-be-determined role. Up until recently, Sullivan had been serving as a co-chairman of Opportunity and Freedom PAC, a pro-Perry super PAC.
Sullivan told The Texas Tribune he has agreed to help the Bush campaign in any capacity "that will help their efforts here in Texas and nationally."
"To restore American prosperity and fix a broken federal government, the next president must come from outside Washington from the ranks of effective conservative governors," Sullivan said in a statement. "Jeb Bush has the best job creation record in the field and is a proven fiscal and social conservative. Jeb Bush was a disruptive force in Florida, vetoing 2,500 budget items and upsetting appropriators from both parties."
"Jeb is pro-life, pro-education reform, and pro-growth," Sullivan continued. "He has detailed plans to secure the border, shrink the size and scope of the federal government, defeat ISIS and rebuild America’s military and diplomatic strength. I believe Jeb Bush is the proven conservative best able to win the Republican nomination and win in November.”
Sullivan is the first major Perry ally to join a once-rival campaign since the former governor effectively ended his second bid for the White House. Perry suspended his campaign Sept. 11 amid fundraising struggles he later attributed to the abuse-of-power indictment against him and his failure to qualify for the first prime-time GOP debate.
Opportunity and Freedom PAC is in the process of refunding most of the millions of dollars it collected from a handful of wealthy Perry backers. Sullivan co-chaired the super PAC with Mike Toomey, another of Perry's former chiefs of staff.