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Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Out, but Campaign Could Live On

Gov. Rick Perry during his caucus night speech on Jan. 3, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune
Gov. Rick Perry during his caucus night speech on Jan. 3, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is trying to remain a player in national politics even though the candidate dropped out of the race nearly a month ago.

Perry’s presidential campaign treasurer, Sal Purpura, is asking the Federal Election Commission whether it can use certain donated funds to create a federal political action committee — possibly even a super PAC — that could solicit unlimited contributions and potentially run ads to support favored candidates or causes.

Purpura asked the FEC on Monday to render an official opinion about whether Perry could convert his campaign to “non-connected PAC status.” Purpura said the campaign is considering a variety of conversion options, including one that would create a super PAC.

The campaign is proposing to fund initial operations of the new committee with some of the $270,000 it had left in the bank when Perry quit the race Jan. 19.

That money came from donors who were giving Perry money that could only be used if he made it into a general election. Perry’s campaign is now asking them if they would be willing to redesignate their donations to benefit a newly created federal PAC.

At the time Purpura wrote the letter, though, many had asked for their money back.

“The committee has already received written redesignation requests for nearly $30,000 and has received written refund requests for at least $100,000 of these funds,” Purpura wrote.

If the FEC turns Perry down, Purpura is asking if the campaign can send the money to his state gubernatorial campaign committee. Perry has not ruled out running for a fourth term in 2014. If he were to win, Perry could end up serving as Texas governor for a total of 18 years.

The governor has also indicated that he may run for president again in 2016. In a recent interview with ABC News, Perry called the 2012 race "exhilarating."

Perry's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Purpura's letter to the FEC.

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when he walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't the resist the draw: it was the the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and realized it wasn't for him. Soon he was applying for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. He has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.
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