Bush and Romney in 2006 (Evan Vucci/AP)Is Rick Perry's long-rumored rivalry with George W. Bush coming back to haunt him in his attempts to raise campaign cash?
A Wall Street Journal analysis of the latest campaign finance reports filed by the Republican presidential field finds that Mitt Romney is raising more cash than Perry among donors who were previously top fundraisers for Bush during his 2000 and 2004 presidential runs.
About 80 former top Bush fundraisers have donated the maximum $2,500 allowed by law to Mr. Romney's 2012 campaign, according to the Journal's Brody Mullins and John McKinnon. About 40 former Bush "bundlers" have contributed to Perry.
But most of donors who were a part of Bush's legendary political fundraising machine are still on the fence in 2012. Of the 550 people who raised at least $100,000 apiece for Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, around 400 haven't contributed to any of the Republicans running for president this election.
That's a potentially huge opportunity for Perry, Romney--or any of the 2012 candidates if they're able to tap into that network. But the Texas governor may have a more difficult time than his rivals on that front.
While Perry has insisted repeatedly he has a good relationship with the ex-president, the bad blood between the governor and his onetime political patron is legendary in Texas. As The Ticket previously reported, Perry irked Bush and his allies when he was quoted in 2007 publicly questioning the 43rd president's conservative political credentials.
In 2010, several members of the Bush family—though not George W. Bush himself—campaigned against Perry's bid for re-election, backing rival Kay Bailey Hutchison's ultimately futile primary challenge. Meanwhile, many of Bush's former top political advisers, including his key strategist Karl Rove, have been publicly critical of Perry's 2012 run.
But not everybody on Team Bush is anti-Perry. The Texas governor recently hired Joe Allbaugh, a longtime Bush adviser who ran Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, as a senior strategist for his 2012 effort. Allbaugh remains close to his former boss, but he broke ranks with the Bush team in 2010 and backed Perry over Hutchison.
The hiring could help Perry make inroads with former Bush supporters irked by the governor's criticism of his once-close political ally.
"The first thing Allbaugh ought to do is send Perry to Dallas to apologize for badmouthing W. all over the country," Texas Monthly political writer Paul Burka wrote last week.
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