Politics

Rick Perry's Political Staff Grows As Supporters Form Super PAC

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Former Gov. of Texas, Rick Perry, is adding to his political operation, hiring a handful of new staff members for a likely second run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

CNN sources claim Jeff Miller, Perry’s senior-most advisor, has taken a leave of absence from his consulting firm to work full-time on Perry’s political action committee. Miller worked as an aide to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There is reportedly now “100%” devotion from Miller and Perry confidante Rob Johnson to Perry’s political campaign, the source added. The decision by Perry on whether he will run for president is expected by the end of June.

A super PAC for Perry was also established this week, led by former Mitt Romney adviser Austin Barbour, called the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, reports The Texas Tribune. It is based in Houston, Texas.

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," a news release by supporters said.

A video was included in the unveiling of the PAC, featuring Perry’s rise to the governor’s office from his small-town childhood in Paint Creek, Texas.

Barbour said the super PAC already has “had several individuals who’ve stepped up big.” He declined to offer up their names or release how much they have committed.

Barbour thinks Perry’s small-town upbringing will resonate with donors, as it has with people Perry has met in the states that hold 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."

Tony Russo, a strategist close to Miller, will serve as senior adviser to the super PAC. Ray Sullivan and Mike Toomey, former chiefs of staff to Perry, are serving as co-chairman.

Supporters said they will showcase the wide range of decisions Perry had to make during his time as governor of Texas, 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."

Sources: The Texas Tribune, CNN

Photo Source: The Texas Tribune, Gage Skidmore/WikiCommons