Bob Perry, the Houston homebuilder and mega contributor to Republican causes and, in the 2004 presidential race, the Swift Boat Vets, passed away at him home this weekend at the age of 80. In his heyday, Perry was one of the biggest political donors in the state. He emerged as a force in the tort reform debate of 2003, as a major supporter of a new organization called Texans for Lawsuit Reform, just as Tom Craddick was assuming the speakership.
Bob Perry emerged as a political power in Texas for two reasons. One was that he was an avid contributor to leading Republican politicians. The other was his desire to be part of the machinery of government that kept Rick Perry, Tom Craddick, and other Republican leaders in power. He is going to be very hard to replace; few political figures in Texas are capable of replacing the money and the zest for political combat that Perry exhibited throughout his lifetime. (Read my friend Sam Gwynne's profile of Perry from 2007.)Read More