H. Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, dies at 89

H. Ross Perot, former presidential candidate, dies at 89
Ross Perot listens to a reporter's question during a news conference before accepting the Command and General Staff College Foundation's 2010 Distinguished Leadership Award Tuesday, April 20, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. The two-time independent presidential candidate has died at the age of 89. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) (Source: Ed Zurga)

(Gray News) - H. Ross Perot, the self-made billionaire from Texas who twice ran for president, has died at the age of 89.

Family spokesman James Fuller says Perot died early Tuesday, per the Associated Press.

He received about 19 percent of the national vote in the 1992 race for the White House, the most by a third-party candidate in 80 years. Critics argued his success undermined the re-election chances of his fellow Texan, President George H.W. Bush.

Perot was born on June 27, 1930, in Texarkana, TX, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1953. Perot and his wife Margot moved to Dallas in the late 1950s where he worked as a salesman for IBM. In 1962, he started his own data processing company that grew into a venture that at one time employed tens of thousands of people. In 1984, he sold that company, EDS, to General Motors for $2.5 billion.

At the request of the governor, Perot became involved in Texas state politics in the early 1980s by proposing reforms to the public school system. He also worked to try to free American POWs in Vietnam.

In 1992, Perot said on “Larry King Live” that he would run for the White House. He swiftly climbed in the polls to a near tie with Democrat frontrunner Bill Clinton and Bush, who was wounded by a slumping economy. He championed term limits for Congress, balancing the federal budget and reforming government.

But Perot dropped out of the race in July only to re-emerge in the fall. He never regained his earlier poll numbers and didn’t win a single state. Clinton won the presidency.

He again ran for the White House in 1996 as the Reform Party nominee but finished a distant third with 8 percent of the vote, well behind the GOP’s Bob Dole and Clinton, who was re-elected.

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