The third time’s the charm.
That’s the view of a new super PAC that wants former Gov. Rick Perry to re-enter the 2016 presidential race — the same one he dropped out of more than two months ago. The group, Bring Leadership Back PAC, launched Tuesday with the goal of showing Perry there is still ample support for him among Republican primary voters, even if his second bid for the White House did not go according to plan.
“We’ve got the sense that he wants to get in,” said Nathan Walder, a Perry supporter who is helping to lead the super PAC with another Perry backer, Ed Willing, and the chairman of Perry’s campaign in Georgia, Ginger Howard.
Since leaving the race, Perry has not publicly expressed any openness to resuming his campaign. He has made a handful of media appearances, taken a road trip to California and spent time with family in his new home in Round Top. Perry’s camp couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The super PAC’s efforts face a steep climb, with filing deadlines approaching and few signs that the broader electorate is hankering for the return of a candidate who was polling in the low single digits when he exited the race. Walder said the group is focusing on fundraising — it wants to raise $10,000 by the end of the weekend — and getting Perry on the ballot in states that hold primaries in March, such as the cluster of mostly southern states set to vote on the first of that month in what is being dubbed the “SEC primary.”
Perry announced in September that he was suspending his campaign, later blaming his failure to gain traction on the abuse-of-power indictment against him. He had struggled to raise money, and in his final weeks as a candidate, his campaign halted payments to staff in Austin as well as the early voting states.
As word spread Wednesday night about the new super PAC, it received some encouraging words from Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative commentator who is friends with the Perrys.
“This is a high hill, but some of his hardest of hard core supporters never really wanted him to drop out and thought he had a flawed team around him,” Erickson wrote on his website. “So now those folks are coming together to try a do-over.”
“The clock is ticking,” Erickson added. “But I do have to say it would be nice to have a military veteran in the race who actually knows a thing or two about ass kicking.”