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Perry In North Texas To Raise Money

Gage Skidmore (cc) flickr

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Can Governor Rick Perry maintain his front-runner status among Republican Presidential hopefuls? KERA's Bill Zeeble talked Southern Methodist University's Cal Jillson, who says money is key.

Perry is in north Texas today raising funds to fuel his Presidential bid. That's typical, says SMU Political Scientist Cal Jillson, because presidential hopefuls of any party come here for money. Perry has 20 years of Texas fundraising resources.

Jillson: Jillson: He will make very heavy use of Texas because that's where his donor list is thickest , and so he can go around Texas and pick the low-hanging fruit.

Perry's spokesperson says fundraising events in Fort Worth and Dallas will be closed to the media. Jillson says that's typical too.

Jillson: Fundraising is to some extent is nasty business when you show it publicly. So the candidates like to speak directly to those who have the ability to give large amounts of money. And they don't necessarily want to be seen doing it, they want their public events public and their private events as private as possible.

Jillson says donors don't necessarily want to be seen publicly either. In addition, candidates sometimes say in private what they would not say in public.

The next test, says Jillson, is raising money beyond Texas, which he says Perry insiders, both volunteer and hired, are already doing. So-called bundlers gather as many large contributions as they can. The maximum permitted by federal law is $2,500 a person. Then Perry has to sell his job growth and small-government message in other states. Critics question the quality of those jobs that often lack benefits. And they question the state's rank near the bottom when it comes to residents with health insurance, or spending on education.

Jillson: And so Rick Perry is going to be tested like he's never been tested before as he moves into the rest of the country, in fact, as he moves out of the South and out of the Midwest and tries to campaign on both coasts and in New England, and we'll see how that goes.

Yesterday, Perry picked up the endorsement of U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma. That's Perry's first Senate endorsement.

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