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Report: Rick Perry Leaving Office to Run for President

By Lisa Barron   |   Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 11:24 AM

He's giving up the Texas governor's mansion next year, but Rick Perry has his sights set on the White House, according to Republicans who say he will run for president in 2016.

Citing unidentified Texas GOP sources, the National Journal reports that despite Perry's claim that he has made no decision, he privately is spreading the word that he "definitely" will enter the race.

The Journal also reports that Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, won't run again out of concern that state Attorney General Greg Abbot could beat him in the 2014 gubernatorial primary, and that could diminish his standing nationally if he decides to run in 2016.

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"Abbott won’t announce for a while, but he's been telling people he's running [for governor], and Perry couldn’t take the chance Abbott could beat him," one source told the Journal, adding: "Nobody becomes president who just lost his last race."

Perry, 63, has been governor since 2000, when he succeeded George W. Bush. On Monday, he announced he would not run again.

"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership. Today I am announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas," he said during a speech in San Antonio.

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"I'll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path. I make this announcement with a deep sense of humility and appreciation for the time and trust the people of this state has given me."

During his unsuccessful 2012 bid for president, Perry famously stumbled during a televised Florida primary debate when he forgot the name of the third federal agency he wanted to eliminate. He recovered from the moment with an "oops" and a laugh, but dropped out of the race ahead of the South Carolina primary.

According to the Journal, Perry does not believe his "oops" led to his poor showing in 2012 and chalks up his loss to entering the race too late.

His supporters say leaving the governorship behind will give him the necessary time to prepare a presidential campaign. But not everyone is convinced it was a good move.

"He's made a terrible miscalculation," one prominent Texas GOP official told the Journal. "He thinks he's gonna be able to raise money as a lame duck. He's given up his biggest card."

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Political consultant Mike Leavitt, a former chief of staff at the Republican National Committee, said Perry would be a strong candidate but just one of many high-profile names.

"It's very clear that Republicans have a tremendous crop of potential candidates for 2016, and he will have to work very hard to communicate his message to Republican primary voters," he told USA Today.

"People like [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio, [New Jersey Gov. Chris] Christie, [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz and [Louisiana Gov. Bobby] Jindal appeal to a wide swath of voters that will be paying attention and participating in the 2016 primary.”

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