Rick Perry’s political operation is on a hiring spree as the Texas governor sets his sights on a second run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Perry’s senior-most adviser Jeff Miller, a California transplant and former Arnold Schwarzenegger aide, has taken a leave of absence from his consulting firm to work full-time for Perry’s political action committee, a source familiar with the move told CNN.
Miller and longtime Perry confidante Rob Johnson are now “100%” devoted to Perry’s political efforts, the source said. Perry has said he expects to make make a decision about running for president by the end of June.
Perry’s decision to firm up the status of his senior leadership team comes a day after supporters of the governor, led by former Mitt Romney adviser Austin Barbour, launched a separate super PAC — a requisite move for any modern campaign — called the Opportunity and Freedom PAC.
The Texas governor has also brought on Romney’s Virginia-based digital firm, Targeted Victory, for the likely campaign.
Perry, who has already signed up political staff in the leadoff nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire, is also hiring advisers for his PAC in South Carolina, sources said. Many of them were with Perry during his last campaign.
Katon Dawson, the garrulous former South Carolina GOP Chairman who advised Perry’s 2012 bid, has been named RickPAC’s state director.
Walter Whetsell, a direct mail veteran and adviser to several South Carolina congressmen, will serve as his senior adviser in the state, and Le Frye, his 2012 political director, will manage the PAC’s day-to-day efforts. Jeff Alderman, who has toiled on a range of local races, will be the PAC’s field director, while Jonathan Davis will be field representative.
Perry will visit South Carolina next Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with Republicans and raise money for the Greenville County GOP and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce PAC.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said his decision to run for the Republican nomination will be based on two things: his family and whether he can lift America's spirit. His father and brother are former Presidents.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has created a political committee that will help him travel and raise money while he considers a 2016 bid. Additionally, billionaire businessman David Koch said in a private gathering in Manhattan this month that he wants Walker to be the next president, but he doesn't plan to back anyone in the primaries.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is establishing a committee to formally explore a White House bid. "If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction," he said in a news release provided to CNN on Monday, May 18.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, has said the United States needs a "political revolution" of working-class Americans looking to take back control of the government from billionaires. He first announced the run in an email to supporters early on the morning of Thursday, April 30.
On March 2, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson announced the launch of an exploratory committee. The move will allow him to raise money that could eventually be transferred to an official presidential campaign and indicates he is on track with stated plans to formally announce a bid in May.
Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid Sunday, April 12, through a video message on social media. She continues to be considered the overwhelming front-runner among possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidates.
Sen. Marco Rubio announced his bid for the 2016 presidency on Monday, April 13, a day after Hillary Clinton, with a rally in Florida. He's a Republican rising star from Florida who swept into office in 2010 on the back of tea party fervor. But his support of comprehensive immigration reform, which passed the Senate but has stalled in the House, has led some in his party to sour on his prospects.
Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat former governor and senator of Rhode Island, said he's running for president on Thursday, April 16, as a Democrat, but his spokeswoman said the campaign is still in the presidential exploratory committee stages.
Vice President Joe Biden has twice before made unsuccessful bids for the Oval Office -- in 1988 and 2008. A former senator known for his foreign policy and national security expertise, Biden made the rounds on the morning shows recently and said he thinks he'd "make a good President."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has started a series of town halls in New Hampshire to test the presidential waters, becoming more comfortable talking about national issues and staking out positions on hot topic debates.
Sen. Rand Paul officially announced his presidential bid on Tuesday, April 7, at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky. The tea party favorite probably will have to address previous controversies that include comments on civil rights, a plagiarism allegation and his assertion that the top NSA official lied to Congress about surveillance.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced his 2016 presidential bid on Monday, March 23, in a speech at Liberty University. The first-term Republican and tea party darling is considered a gifted orator and smart politician. He is best known in the Senate for his marathon filibuster over defunding Obamacare.
Democrat Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor, released a "buzzy" political video in November 2013 in tandem with visits to New Hampshire. He also headlined a Democratic Party event in South Carolina, which holds the first Southern primary.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a social conservative, gave Mitt Romney his toughest challenge in the nomination fight last time out and has made trips recently to early voting states, including Iowa and South Carolina.