Mark this down as an only-in-American-politics moment: today, Texas Governor Rick Perry filed his statement of candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission signed by his treasurer, Salvatore Purpura. But Perry is not Purpura's only employer: he is also the treasurer of Stephen Colbert's Super PAC, "Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow." According to his LinkedIn profile, Purpura is a "Talented Finance Manager with outstanding credentials exemplifying an extensive track record of planning and directing accounting functions in an innovative way." And he has worked for a number of Republican candidates over the years including, John McCain's 2008 campaign, the Bush-Cheney in 2004 and 2000, Dole-Kemp in 1996 and Jeb Bush during his 1994 for Florida governor.
And now Purpura's got two bosses who have already clashed. After it was officially-sanctioned by the FEC, one of the first notable actions by the Colbert Super PAC was to flood Iowa with ads urging attendees of the Ames Straw Poll last Saturday to vote for "Rick Parry" instead of Purpura's other employer, Rick Perry. It was a big joke for Colbert. But for Rick Perry supporters and the Iowa secretary of state staffers, it likely caused "Bachmann-sized migraines," according to The Daily Caller.
10 to 12 Secretary of State staffers have volunteered to serve as write-in officials... “My guess is that they will end up tallying Rick Parry votes separately from Rick Perry votes, and then make a decision about how to count them,” said Rick Hasen, University of California-Irvine law professor and publisher of the Election Law Blog. “Whatever they decide, if there are a significant number of them, would be controversial.”
Since the Ames Straw Poll is essentially a mock-election, there are no actual legal penalties for cheating.
It's not clear what effect the stunt had on Perry's straw poll fortunes. For what it's worth, he ended up placing sixth with 718 votes or 3.62 percent. Unlike Tim Pawlenty, Perry's political hopes survived the poll. So did Colbert's Super PAC. Will Purpura have to choose sides eventually? We reached out to him but haven't heard back yet. We'll update if he responds.
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