orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Government

July 8, 2013

Perry likely to announce if he'll seek re-election

SAN ANTONIO — Will he or won't he?

Gov. Rick Perry has invited friends and supporters to San Antonio and the country's largest Caterpillar equipment dealership Monday to announce "exciting future plans."

The longest-serving governor in Texas history should reveal if he'll seek a fourth full term in office next year. The location is meant to symbolize Perry's prowess as a job creator overseeing the state's booming economy.

Perry was lieutenant governor but moved up when George W. Bush left for the White House in December 2000.

If he runs again, Perry may face a challenge in the GOP primary from well-funded Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Perry hasn't offered hints on his plans, but he also hasn't ruled out another White House run.

Perry never lost an election during his 27-year political career and became a near-instant front-runner when he strapped on his signature cowboy boots and strode into the race for the GOP presidential nomination in August 2011.

But he flamed out spectacularly and dropped his presidential bid in January 2012, culminating in a debate in Michigan where Perry remembered that he'd pledged to shutter the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Education but forgot the third one, the Department of Energy. Quipped late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon: "It turns out George Bush was actually the smart Texas governor."

Perry is known for his TV anchorman good looks — often dubbed "Governor Good Hair." He has been a ferocious fundraiser buoyed by both grassroots activists and mainstream Republicans while presiding over a flourishing Texas economy.

"So many people are supporters and are going to stay supporters," said Roy Bailey, a Dallas businessman who has been a top Perry fundraiser.

Perry has been a leading voice on many social issues conservatives hold dear, including states' rights, relaxed environmental regulations, strict abortion limits and opposition to gay marriage.

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