Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ross Perot, billionaire and ex-presidential candidate, dies at 89

Ross Perot, billionaire and ex-presidential candidate, dies at 89

Perot was considered to have been a thorn in the side of former President Geroge H.W. Bush during his political career after he ran as a third-party candidate in 1992 and siphoned away Republican votes, garnering 19 percent of the electorate. "Laura and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Perot family as they celebrate a full life", the former president said (via ABC News). Election experts and scholarly research, however, has challenged that theory: The New York Times found Perot's effect on the outcome of the election "appears to have been minimal", and The Washington Post reported Clinton would have still won by a large margin if Perot hadn't run.

Perot parlayed his huge success as the owner of Electronic Data Systems Corp., which helped companies manage their tech networks, into a serious campaign in the 1992 United States presidential election. Perot did not fare almost as well in the 1996 election, when he only received 8 percent of the popular vote - less than half his total from 1992, although still a larger figure than any other third-party candidate earned in the subsequent 20 years. Hardware accounted for about 80% of the computer business, Perot said, and IBM wasn't interested in the other 20%, including services.

Perot's wealth, fame and confident prescription for the nation's economic ills propelled his 1992 campaign against President George H.W. Bush and Democratic challenger Bill Clinton.

Perot's fortune was estimated at $4.1 billion by Forbes magazine in April 2019. In 1984, he sold EDS to General Motors for an impression $2.5 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He ran again in 1996 and got half as many votes.

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In 1988, Perot founded Perot Systems Corporation, Plano, Texas. "His fame, money, and ideas for the economy pushed him to run for president for the first time in '92, and what a splash he made. he spent more than $60 million of his own money".

Perot, like Trump, also demanded in 1996 that American allies pay more for common defense around the world. American prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action in the Vietnam War became a key issue for Perot and he made several trips to Vietnam on their behalf. Perot said Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asked him to lead a campaign to improve treatment of POWs held in North Vietnam. The resulting rescue was retold in a book by Ken Follett, which became a 1986 mini-series called On Wings of Eagles.

He would eventually be honored for this activism, receiving an award from then-Secretary of Veteran Affairs James Peake in 2009.

Perot's survivors include his wife, Margot, who he married in 1956.

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