One of the more polarizing business and political figures of our time has died.
Texas billionaire and twice-failed presidential candidate, Ross Perot, has passed away at the age of 89.
Fastest, Richest Texan
Ross Perot is the epitome of a Texas patriot. Perot was born in Texarkana, TX in 1930. One of his very first jobs was being a paperboy for the Texarkana Gazette.
In 1949, Perot entered the Naval Academy. Perot left the Navy in 1957 and started his business career at IBM.
Frustrated, he left the company and founded Electronic Data Systems. In 1968, he took his company public and watched its net worth explode ten times over in just a few days. In 1984, Perot sold the company to General Motors for $2.4 billion.
He struck gold again in 1988 after founding Perot Systems Corporation, Inc. Perot went on to sell that company off in 2009 for $3.9 billion.
The Thorn in Reagan and Bush’s Side
During the Reagan administration, Perot got involved in backchannel negotiations with Vietnamese government officials.
In an effort to recover what he believed were American prisoners of war from the Vietnam War, Perot drove a wedge between himself and the Reagan administration.
Perot was also adamantly against the Persian Gulf War, which only made matters worse. This all led to Perot running for President in 1992. It was a move many believed cost Bush his second term.
To this day, Perot’s campaign was the most successful third-party run at the White House in modern history even though he did not win a single electoral vote (he did win almost 19 percent of the popular vote).
Perot gave it another shot in 1996, running under the Reform Party, but the magic was gone. He would only garner eight percent of the popular vote in ’96, and that was pretty much the end of his political career.
Perot is survived by his wife, 5 children, and 16 grandchildren.