(Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host a group of potential heavy hitter campaign donors and bundlers in Austin today for meetings with campaign officials and, later, with the governor himself.
The meetings are the latest in a series reminiscent of the Austin briefings hosted by a previous governor from Texas, George W. Bush. Bush's meetings were held early in the 2000 presidential selection process. Perry's invitations are coming late during a tumultuous year for the Republican field.
Perry has been getting a good response from potential donors in the D.C. area, said Dirk Van Dongen, one of the people who has been leading Perry’s fundraising effort.
Several prominent Washington donors will be among those attending the Wednesday meetings, he said.
Van Dongen, president of the National Assn. of Wholesaler-Distributors, was a top fundraiser for President George W. Bush and for former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He has pledged to raise $500,000 for Perry.
Van Dongen has experienced the Perry charm offensive firsthand. He made two trips to Austin in the last four weeks, getting briefings from Perry’s top campaign staff before a private dinner for potential donors with the governor.