Austin Barbour, the former head of a super PAC backing Rick Perry, is the latest ally of Texas' longest-serving governor to throw his support behind ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the presidential race.
Barbour, who was a senior adviser to the now-defunct Opportunity and Freedom PAC, has joined Bush's campaign as a senior adviser focused on fundraising and political organization. His move comes about three weeks after Perry dropped out of the race amid fundraising problems.
Barbour is the third person who worked on Perry's presidential effort to jump to Bush's campaign. Ray Sullivan, a former Perry chief of staff who co-chaired the super PAC, announced Thursday he was signing up with Bush's bid. Three days later, longtime Perry speechwriter Eric Bearse declared his support for the former Florida governor.
"Same as you have with Gov. Perry, you have a very serious, proven executive" in Bush, Barbour said. "He got a bunch of things accomplished in good times and in bad times."
While Barbour is no longer working to elect Perry, he could still be active in Texas politics during the race for the White House. A GOP operative based in Mississippi, he is expected to help build support for Bush in "SEC primary" territory, which is made up of several southern states that are set to hold their primaries March 1, including Texas.
"My intention is to win the Texas primary, just in case anybody's curious about it," Bush told reporters during a campaign stop last month in McAllen.
Barbour's departure effectively marks the end of Opportunity and Freedom PAC, which had collected nearly $17 million from a few wealthy Perry backers. "We shut it down, gave all the money back," Barbour said.
His move was first reported by POLITICO.