Rick Perry turning to California for cash

As we reported this morning, Rick Perry’s ability to raise money from Wall Street for his presidential bid could be hampered because of new Securities and Exchange Commission rules that limit donations from financial services employees to sitting governors.

So where is Perry turning to for cash?

California, not surprisingly, is a major target. The Texas governor plans a busy swing through the state on Sept. 8 and 9, packing in six fundraising functions from San Diego to East Palo Alto, according to an invitation being distributed to donors. The cheapest tickets go for $1,000 a head, but fundraisers are also being asked to consider bundling $20,000 to $50,000 each to co-host events.

Some major players have already signed on, including Redken founder Paula Kent Meehan, who is hosting a reception for Perry in Los Angeles, as well as investor and former residential real estate broker Fred Sands and his wife, Carla, who are opening up their Los Angeles home for a host committee dinner. Perry is also hitting Republican strongholds such as Newport Beach, Bakersfield and Fresno.


In addition, the Texas governor is hoping to make inroads in Silicon Valley, a region where he’s a familiar face because of his success in luring companies such as Facebook and EBay to set up operations in Texas.

As governor, he has also championed a business incentive program called the Emerging Technology Fund, which gave out nearly $200 million in grants to companies in its first four years to promote new technology and innovation.

Last month, Perry met in Silicon Valley with about 25 top executives as part of a policy roundtable organized by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a nonpartisan public policy trade association.

Carl Guardino, president of the group, said Perry made a solid impression, noting that many of the area’s high-tech and biotech firms had already been wooed by the Perry administration.


“The record of Texas, let alone the record of Gov. Perry, is not lost on any Silicon Valley CEOs because either they’re already there or they’re constantly courted to go there,” he said. “I think if he calls people, they’ll be open to a second date.”

Aside from California, Republican fundraisers said that Perry will be able to draw heavily on his relationships in Texas and the connections he forged around the country during his two stints as chairman of the Republican Governors Assn.

“He’s got an enormous reservoir of support in Texas and I think he would be able to build a very strong base of funding from there,” said veteran GOP fundraiser Fred Malek, who remains neutral in the race.

Between that and Perry’s time at the governors association, Malek said the Texas governor has built “a pretty strong national network of relationships, and I think he’ll have no problem drawing upon that network to raise whatever money is needed.”

In Texas alone, “there are a lot of people in that state who know and like him who will write a check for $2,500,” said Henry Barbour, a Mississippi-based political strategist who has pledged to be one of Perry’s major fundraisers. “It helps jumpstart a campaign at this late juncture. I think he’s one of the few who can pull this off getting this late of a start.”

Barbour has committed to raising $500,000 for Perry and said he’s been encouraged by the response that he’s already getting.

“What I’m witnessing in my circles here in Mississippi and around the country is that people are coming to me and saying, ‘How do I help?’” Barbour said. “Folks are just fired up about it.”

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