Texas governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry will not seek a fourth term in 2014. “The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” he declared at a rally in San Antonio on Monday. “After January of 2015, new chapters will be written. New leaders will write them. But the focus must remain on the greatest state in the nation and opportunity for her people.”
Despite speculation to the contrary, Perry didn’t use today’s event to announce another run for the White House in 2016, although he didn’t rule one out, either. He’s got some 2012 campaign stumbles to get past, and of course the media will remember them far longer than anything Barack Obama ever said. (Remember “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your plan?” That was a real knee-slapper, wasn’t it?)
Perry’s biggest sustained debate problems came in the areas of immigration and foreign policy. The former is already a very different subject than it was during the 2012 campaign, and will likely have changed even further by the time 2016 races are under way. As for the latter, if Perry’s going to run against Benghazi Clinton, he won’t be facing any credible boasts of dazzling foreign-policy success. And if he’s up against Joe Biden, four-year-old Perry gaffes won’t be a major disadvantage.
As for the Texas governorship, the Perry years have covered everything since the departure of George W. Bush, which is a long shadow to emerge from. Among his most likely Republican successors is Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who issued the following statement soon after Perry’s announcement:
It has been a tremendous honor to work alongside Governor Rick Perry to help lead the great State of Texas. As Governor, Rick Perry has fought for lower taxes, less regulation and more job creation ??? all of which have helped Texas claim the best business climate in the nation. Along the way, Governor Perry has kept Washington in check, working to block an intrusive federal government from meddling in our personal lives and preventing the heavy-hand of government from stifling small businesses in Texas.
Our work together is not done, and over the next year and a half, we will continue our work to keep Texas the very best state for attracting jobs, raising families and advancing freedom.
Abbott recently produced a video that looks a whole lot like the beginning of a run for higher office: