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California Republicans Fundraising for Rick Perry

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is far from making a decision about a White House bid, but a cadre of California Republicans are raising money on his behalf in the meantime by starting a 527 organization.

California GOP consultant Bob Schuman filed paperwork Monday with the IRS to start Americans for Rick Perry, which aims to raise money and create a grass-roots operation on the governor’s behalf until he makes a decision about running for president.

Elizabeth Blakemore, a well-known Houston-based GOP fundraiser, is raising money for the group. Schuman said the goal is to bring in $500,000 by Aug. 1.

“It’s a 527 that we just started to start an independent expenditure campaign for Gov. Perry until he decides what he’s going to do,” Schuman told Roll Call in a phone interview. “We do have fundraisers on board, and they are frantically trying to raise money right now.”

Perry is far from announcing a campaign for president, but he’s indicated that he is considering a bid and recently scheduled several high-profile appearances at conservative events across the country over the next few weeks. Polls have shown that many GOP primary voters are not satisfied with the current crop of candidates, and without a true Southerner in the hunt, many Republicans see an opening for the governor if he decides to run.

The idea for the 527 started a few weeks ago after a group of California state lawmakers journeyed to Texas to talk with Perry about the economy, Schuman said. Upon their return, Assemblyman Dan Logue (R) led a handful of his colleagues to begin a full-fledged draft effort to get Perry into the race.

Earlier this week, Schuman filed the paperwork to begin raising money for the 527 organization. He said he’s never met Perry, but Blakemore’s firm works closely with many Lone Star State elected officials and has volunteered for the governor’s campaigns in the past.

“We’re just getting started,” Blakemore said. “We love and adore Rick Perry and want him to be in the best possible position if he decides to run for president. He’s done an incredibly wonderful job with Texas, and we’d love to see that replicated for the United States.”

As a 527 organization, Americans for Rick Perry is required to report receipts and disbursements on a regular basis with the IRS. There are no restrictions on the amount of money that anyone can give to a 527 group.

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