FederalIssuesRoss Perot, Two-time Presidential Candidate and Philanthropist, Dies at 89

After a five-month battle with leukemia, the Dallas-based billionaire, philanthropist, and former independent presidential candidate has passed away.
July 9, 2019
Ross Perot, two-time presidential candidate, billionaire businessman, and established philanthropist has died at 89 years old. 

A native Texan, Perot was born in Texarkana in 1930 to a cotton-broker father and a secretary mother. 

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, he went on to found Electronic Data Systems Corp in Dallas. The company was eventually sold to General Motors for $2.5 billion and Perot went on to establish and invest in a myriad of other ventures, including Perot Systems Corp.

Perot first ran for the presidency in 1992 as an independent and secured an astounding 18.9 percent of the popular vote nationally and 22 percent of the popular vote in his home state of Texas

Perot’s showing as a third party candidate was lauded as a monumental achievement and likely helped President Bill Clinton prevail against incumbent President George H.W. Bush. 

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Perpetually unsatisfied with the ideological divides of both major American political parties, Perot founded his own party, the Reform Party. According to its website, which boasts a national debt clock, the party showcases “moderate fiscal and economic platforms mixed with strong calls for ethics and electoral reform based on populist beliefs.” 

In 1996, Perot ran for president once again as the Reform Party candidate and secured 8.4 percent of the national popular vote and 6.7 percent in Texas

Perot, who lost a five-month battle with leukemia, is survived by his wife Margo and five children. His son, Ross Perot Jr., is the current CEO of the Perot Group and has given to many Texas political candidates and officials. 

The Perots have donated to candidates from across the political spectrum, including $5,000 to State Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), $5,000 to State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), $25,000 to Texans for Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), $100,000 to Governor Greg Abbott, and $75,000 to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

Six-figure donations to political action committees like Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC and the Associated Republicans of Texas Campaign Fund are also recorded.

Perot’s philanthropic efforts have earned him a host of awards, including Forbes’ Greatest Living Business Minds Award, the History-Making Texan Award, the VA Secretary’s Award, and the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

The Perot Museum, named after the five Perot children donated $50 million to the Dallas-based institution, released a statement on its website, stating that Perot “enlivened the Museum with his generous and caring spirit and served as an example of kindness, compassion, and innovation. His legacy as leader, independent thinker, technological trailblazer, and American patriot will endure and continue to serve as inspiration in fulfilling our mission.”

Governor Abbott released a statement, saying Perot “exemplified what it means to be a Texan and an American. Born into extreme poverty, he rose up to become one [of] our nation’s most successful entrepreneurs and an exemplar of the American dream.”

“His charitable work and his support of the United States Military and its veterans will forever be remembered.”

The Perot family has asked that those wishing to honor the late Ross Perot donate to one of the charitable organizations he supported and advocated for.


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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.