Texas Gov. Rick Perry greets supporters in San Antonio after announcing Monday he will not seek re-election.
SAN ANTONIO — Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday he won’t seek re-election as governor.
“The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” he said at an event at the Holt Cat dealership in San Antonio that had been promoted as the moment when Perry would announce his “exciting future plans.”
Perry has been governor since 2000, when as lieutenant governor, he stepped into the top job when George W. Bush became president.
Perry said he is looking forward to serving out his term over the next 18 months and will announce his future plans when it’s appropriate. “My focus will be on Texas,” he said.
Perry, who spoke before a crowd of long-time supporters and a long bank of news cameras, recounted the accomplishments of his nearly 13 years as governor, and recited the verse from Ecclesiastes about there being a time and season for every purpose, before declaring that he would not be a candidate for a fourth term.
While he gave no hint about whether he might make another run for the presidency, Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak, who was on hand for the announcement, said the Bible verse suggested there may yet be a season for another bid for the White House.
“My gut says he is going to make another run,” said former chief of staff and campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan, who was also, like many former Perry staffers, on hand.
His last run foundered on a poor performance by the governor in the debates that are a central feature of the primary contests, and most especially the “oops” moment when he could not remember the name of the third federal agency he planned to eliminate.
“It will be an issue until he proves that he’s prepared,” said Sullivan, who said this time the governor will have more time to prepare, will get into the race at an earlier stage when the glare of the lights is not yet as “white hot,” and will, once he finishes his term, be able to apply himself without the distraction of also serving as governor.
Attorney General Greg Abbott could announce his intention to seek the governorship as soon as a previously scheduled event in San Antonio Sunday that comes on the anniversary of the July 14, 1984, accident that left him paralyzed when a tree fell on him as he was out running. The perseverance that he demonstrated in moving on with his life after that accident has become a theme of his incipient campaign.
The only declared candidate for governor, former Texas Workforce Commission chairman Tom Pauken, wished Perry the “best of luck,” and said Abbott “represents an Austin that has grown stale with insiders inheriting promotions whose primary allegiance is to those who write the big checks.”MORE IN Wire News
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