Former Presidential Candidate, Texas Billionaire H. Ross Perot Dies at 89

Former Presidential Candidate, Texas Billionaire H. Ross Perot Dies at 89

News Staff

H. Ross Perot, best known for his run as an independent candidate in the 1992 presidential campaign, died Tuesday at his home in Dallas, NBC 5 has confirmed. He was 89 years old.

The Texas businessman was born in Texarkana in 1930 and graduated from Texas High School in 1947.

After high school, Perot attended Texarkana Junior College and then entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949.

After Perot left the Navy in 1957, he went to work for IBM as a salesman. Then in 1962 he left IBM and founded Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas. EDS then went public in 1968 and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 a share within a few days.

Perot was featured on the 1968 cover of Fortune Magazine as the “fastest, richest Texan.”

General Motors would later buy a controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion.

In 1988, Perot founded Perot Systems Corporation, Inc. in Plano, Texas. His son Ross Perot Jr. succeeded him as CEO. Perot Systems was acquired by Dell corporation in 2009 for $3.9 billion.

It was in 1992 that Perot announced his intention to run as an independent for President of the United States. He spent $12.3 million of his own money to finance his run.

During a presidential debate in the 1992 race opposite George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Perot scored a major laugh line with a nod to his appearance.

“We’ve got to clean this mess up, leave this country in good shape, and pass on the American dream to them. We’ve got to collect the taxes to do it. If there’s a fairer way, I’m all ears,” he said before the audience erupted with applause.

In the end, received 18.9 percent of the popular vote, but no electoral college votes, which made him the most successful third-party presidential candidate since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election.

Perot ran again in 1996, but was once again unsuccessful, receiving only 8 percent of the popular vote.

Just four days before the 2000 election, Perot made an appearance on Larry King Live and endorsed George W. Bush for president, saying he was unhappy with what he had seen from the Reform Party.

Since that time, Perot has remained mainly silent on political issues.

Perot and his wife Margot have five children.

In May of 2008, the five Perot children donated $50 million to the fund-raising campaign to build the new Victory Park location of the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas in honor of their parents. When the new location opened in 2012, it was named the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in the family’s honor.

“In our country, you can dream the dream and make the dream come true,” Perot said when the museum opened. He continued, “honored that my children and grandchildren wanted to do this. And I hope it will inspire young people to reach for the stars, as I was able to do.”

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

The family asked that memorial contributions to be made to one of Perot’s favorite charities: The Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the Salvation Army DFW, the North Texas Food Bank, the Visiting Nurse Association of Texas and Teach for America.