Perry in 2016? Texas governor declines to run for 4th term
If it looks like a presidential candidate, sounds like a presidential candidate, and walks and talks like a presidential candidate...what do you think?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2014.
"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," he said at a rally in San Antonio. "Today, I'm announcing I will not seek reelection as governor of Texas."
Perry has served as governor since 2000, when then-Gov. George W. Bush (R) became president. Perry was elected to full terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Perry also alluded to a potential 2016 presidential run, saying he will "pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path."
Since his 2012 presidential bid floundered - capped off by his "oops" moment at a presidential debate - Perry has eyed a second run.
"Any future considerations I will announce in due time, and I will arrive at that decision appropriately," he said.
For now, though, he said he will focus intently on his final 18 months as governor.
"After January of 2015, new chapters will be written. New leaders will write them," Perry said. "But the focus must remain on the greatest state in the nation and opportunity for her people'
Perry's announcement came at an elaborate press conference at a Caterpillar plant. A campaign-style video recapped Perry's accomplishments as governor, before the governor himself made his case for why his tenure has been a success.
State Attorney General Greg Abbott is considered the GOP frontrunner now that Perry is out of the race.
Perry will have a solid record of real accomplishment to run on, which gives him a leg up over Senators like Rubio and Rand Paul or congressmen like Paul Ryan. The abortion fight playing out in Texas will give him a boost with pro-lifers and the continuing success of the Texas economy will no doubt please economic conservatives.
While George W. Bush was able to win the nomination as a sitting governor, most successful presidential candidates in the past who served as governor have been unencumbered with the responsibilities of office. Perry would have a problem with voters if they believed he'd be more interested in campaigning than running the state.
My guess is he's already started running and will begin to hire professional staff with experience working on national campaigns. Part of Perry's problem in 2012 was that he entered the race comparatively late after the early entrants had swept up most of the GOP's best national campaign professionals. Better staff - and better preparation by Perry - will help him avoid the gaffes that undermined his credibility in 2012.