“The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” the governor announced.
Perry, 63, is already the longest-serving governor in Texas history and has been the Lone Star state’s chief executive since December 2000 when George W. Bush left to become president. Perry’s departure sets up the biggest political shuffle in Texas since he took office.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a rising Republican Party star, has been making moves as though he will seek the governorship next year. He recently released a video, narrated by former senator-actor Fred Thompson, introducing himself to voters – even though Abbott has won statewide elections five times. Abbott also has amassed $18 million in campaign funds.
Perry left open the possibility that he would try again and run for the White House, saying “any new decisions” he will announce “at the appropriate time.” He recently rehired Mark Miner, a longtime aide who was one of the advisers behind his 2012 presidential bid.