Billionaire Former Presidential Candidate Ross Perot Has Died at 89

He won 19 percent of the vote in 1992

Ross Perot in 1992 (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Ross Perot in 1992 (Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
By Jason Diamond / July 9, 2019 10:52 am

Ross Perot, who shook up the political landscape when he ran for president against George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992, has died at 89. The self-made billionaire founder of Electronic Data Systems Corp. had been battling leukemia for the past five months according to The Dallas Morning News.

Perot, who declared in February of 1992 that he’d run for president if he could get his name on the ballot in all 50 states on a Larry King Live appearance, led a Gallup poll by June with 39 percent of the vote. By September of that year, he qualified for every ballot in the country. Thanks to his ascension as well as campaigns by Republican Pat Buchanan and Democrat Jerry Brown, politicians who didn’t exactly fit their respective parties’ mold, the Pew Research Center called 1992 the “Year of the Outsider.” 

While he only received 18.9 percent of the popular vote and carried no states in the electoral college, Perot was the most successful third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt ran as a Progressive in 1912. No single third-party candidate has had as much success since. In business, as his son pointed out in an interview, “Fortune said he was ‘the fastest, richest Texan ever.'” He officially became a billionaire when General Motors took over Electronic Data Systems Corp. in 1984.

Perot is survived by his wife, Margot; their five children and spouses and 16 grandchildren.

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