SAN ANTONIO (July 8, 2013)—Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 63, announced Monday he won’t seek a fourth full term in office in 2014 and will spend the 18 months that remain in his current term creating jobs.
Perry was already the longest-serving governor in state history.
He chose the country's largest Caterpillar equipment dealership Monday afternoon in San Antonio as a backdrop for the announcement.
Perry was lieutenant governor, but moved into the governor’s mansion when George W. Bush left for the White House in December 2000.
Perry hasn't ruled out another White House run after abandoning his first bid in January 2012.
He's best known in that campaign for saying"Oops" during a debate after he forgot the third of three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate if elected.
Earlier he stirred up some controversy when he suggested that Texas could secede from the U.S., and for shooting a coyote with a concealed handgun he carries while jogging.
The announcement will trigger a major shuffle among statewide officeholders.
At least six out of nine elected executive offices will likely change hands as voters replace not only the governor, but also the attorney general, comptroller and land, agriculture and railroad commissioners.
They'll also get a chance to choose another lieutenant governor, with three men already in the running to replace David Dewhurst.
Many of the candidates have waited years for a chance to move up.
Attorney General Greg Abbott, who’s been considered Perry’s heir-apparent for years, will “make his intentions clear in the coming weeks,” spokesman Matt Hirsch said Monday.
Abbott is scheduled to begin a statewide tour to meet and greet voters on Sunday, starting in San Antonio.
He praised Perry in a statement Monday.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he said.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also touted Perry’s accomplishments, which he said made Texas “a shining example that less government, lower taxes and fewer regulations helps to grow jobs and move our economy forward.”
“It’s a striking contrast to the big government, big spending, liberal mindset of the current administration,” he said.
Democrats, however, weren’t so effusive.
"After twelve years of failed policies and divisive rhetoric, it's welcome news that Governor Perry announced he will not run for re-election,” said Jenn Brown, executive director of the left-leaning group Battleground Texas.
“It's time for a new era in the Lone Star State - Texans deserve a leader who will stand up and fight for their values,” she said.
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilbert Hinojosa vowed that the party would run “an aggressive campaign” to “defeat Greg Abbott and any other Republican candidate for governor.”
“The new era in Texas politics is beginning,” he said.