Texas billionaire and independent presidential candidate, H. Ross Perot, died today at the age of 89

A review of our archives looking for connections to our area and Perot found a few items.

The first came in December 31, 1985, Perot purchased $23.9 million in tax-free bonds issued by the Scranton Public Auditorium Authority. The Scranton Public Auditorium Authority was created in the mid 1980s to help fund the construction of an arena in downtown Scranton. 

His next connection came in April 1992 when he paid a visit to King’s College in Wilkes-Barre. Perot was at the college to attend the dedication of the McGowan School of Business at the college and to speak at school’s annual James J. Burke Distinguished Lecture Series in Finance.  

man speaking

Potential presidential candidate H. Ross Perot addresses reporters during a press conference on April 10, 1992 at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre. Perot was in town to help dedicate the new McGowan School of Business at King’s. At right is MCI president William G. McGowan, a King’s alumnus for whom the school is named. Times-Tribune Archives

Before his lecture, Perot spoke to reporters about a possible run at the White House. He said he would only run if he could be on the ballot in all 50 states. He added that if won the presidency, “he would work to eliminate the current budget deficit by ridding the country of government waste, asking Europe and Asia to reimburse the United States for the cost of defense, repairing the antiquated collection system at the Internal Revenue Service and eliminating Medicare and Social Security for the financial top 20 percent of the population.”    

man seated

H. Ross Perot, seated, is offered two “Perot for President” t-shirts, on to keep, the other to autograph during an appearance at King’s College on April 10, 1992. Times-Tribune Archives

Perot would eventually enter the presidential race. By September 1992, he was on the ballot in all 50 states. When election day came he received 18.9% of the popular vote but no electoral college votes. In Lackawanna County, Perot received 15,667 votes compared to Bill Clinton who received 45,054 votes and President George H. Bush who received 33,443. 

Perot would make another run at the White House in 1996. In that election, Perot received only 8,189 votes in Lackawanna County compared to Clinton’s 46,377 votes and Senator Bob Dole’s 26, 930 votes. Nationally Perot received just over 8 million votes.