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Perry Campaign Manager to Head Dewhurst Super PAC

Rob Johnson (left) will be managing a super PAC fund for Senate candidate David Dewhurst.
Photo illustration by Bob Daemmrich, Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune
Rob Johnson (left) will be managing a super PAC fund for Senate candidate David Dewhurst.

Rob Johnson, the campaign manager for Rick Perry's failed presidential bid, has a new gig: running a super PAC for Lt. Gov. DavidDewhurst's Senate race. 

Johnson has a familiarity and a history with Dewhurst. He ran his 2002 campaign, and he was a top aide to the lieutenant governor for eight years before running Perry's last gubernatorial race. Johnson briefly served as former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign manager until resigning in June, fanning rumors that Perry would run for president.

Back in Austin after Perry's high-profile flameout, Johnson established and is the executive director of the Texas Conservatives Fund, which he formed specifically to help Dewhurst succeed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Johnson said Perry's former national finance director Margaret Lauderback, who also led the fundraising effort for the governor's 2010 re-election bid, is the Texas Conservatives Fund's finance director.

 "Some of us who really know David Dewhurst, who know him well, know he’s the proven conservative and can serve Texas in the U.S. Senate," Johnson said. "People around the state are excited about the opportunity to help him."

The Texas Conservatives Fund, which filed with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 30, isn't the only super PAC established to aid Dewhurst. Former Harris County Republican Party chairman Gary Polland and San Francisco-based political consultant Bob Wickers recently formed the Conservative Renewal PAC

Dewhurst's two super PACs have good company in the Republican primary. The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James has the support of a group called Real World Conservatives. And the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth Action PAC has pledged a half-million dollars in television ads to support former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, according to The Washington Post

Emily Ramshaw investigates state agencies and covers social services for KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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