August 12, 2015

Monty Python and the Rick Perry Campaign

In campaigns past, a lack of funds was a plague that felled many a candidate.

In campaigns past, a lack of funds was a plague that felled many a candidate in primary races. And if Rick Perry was running for president eight years ago, his campaign might have been officially declared dead, as the campaign has stopped paying its employees because it just didn’t have enough money in the bank (according to financial disclosures, Perry’s campaign had less than $1 million in cash July 15). But in the words of an anonymous villager, he’s “not dead yet.” Perry’s campaign manager, Jeff Miller, says the campaign will have to prioritize time and money to target the key swing states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa. Perry can continue the race on volunteer time and what amounts to pocket change. John McCain pulled off something similar in the GOP presidential primary of 2007. But this is 2015, the era of Super PACs. According to Austin Barbour, a senior adviser to Perry’s Super PACs, the PACs have amassed a $16.8 million war chest for the former Texas governor. Perry’s not alone. Carly Fiorina has relied on her Super PAC for most of the heavy campaign lifting, and Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Rick Santorum also have small campaign budgets. We’ve reached a weird place in American politics where the fate of many candidates rests not in their own hands but in organizations that are required, by law, not to coordinate with the candidates.

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