Rick Perry Supporters Form Super PAC
Allies of former Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday rolled out a Super PAC that can raise unlimited amounts of money to boost the likely 2016 presidential candidate.
The Opportunity and Freedom PAC will "educate voters on Perry’s record as Governor of Texas and promote his vision for the future of America," supporters said in a news release. The PAC also unveiled a web video touting Perry's rise to the governor's office, starting with his small-town childhood in Paint Creek, Texas.
In another sign Thursday that Perry's presidential apparatus is kicking into high gear, a person close to the operation said senior adviser Jeff Miller is now working full-time for RickPAC, Perry's leadership PAC. The move was first reported by CNN.
Mississippi-based Republican operative Austin Barbour is leading the super PAC as a senior adviser. He is the brother of Henry Barbour, a longtime friend of Perry's and informal adviser over the years. Their uncle is former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
In an interview Thursday afternoon, Austin Barbour said the super PAC already has "had several individuals who've stepped up big" but declined to identify them or how much they have committed. He predicted the "Paint Creek story" will resonate with donors as it does with people Perry has been meeting with in the states holding the first presidential primaries.
"That is a story that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina and the rest of the country can relate to," Barbour said. "This is not a guy who was born with a silver spoon in his hand."
Also on board as a senior adviser to the super PAC is Tony Russo, a strategist who is close to Miller. Two former chiefs of staff to Perry — Ray Sullivan and Mike Toomey — are serving as co-chairmen of the Super PAC.
The Perry supporters indicated they plan to showcase the wide range of decisions the former governor had to make as he led the second-most-populous state.
"As governor, Rick Perry dealt with hurricanes, wildfires, a space shuttle explosion, and the federal government's failure to secure our border," Toomey said in a statement. "In all these circumstances, Governor Perry displayed an ability to take decisive action. He always leads from the front."
In a separate statement, Sullivan said Perry's "economic record is without equal."
Federal Election Commission records show it received paperwork establishing the Super PAC on Wednesday. The PAC is based in Houston, according to the paperwork.
The Super PAC's treasurer is listed as Stefan Passantino, the Washington, D.C., lawyer who most recently served in the same position for RickPAC. Kathy Walt, Perry's former chief of staff, recently replaced Passantino as treasurer of RickPAC, according to FEC records.
Dallas-based Glass House Strategy produced the web video.