After years of emphatic denials of a White House run, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) is now considering jumping into the GOP race.
Speaking at a ceremonial bill signing for legislation requiring voters to bring IDs to their polling place, Perry said Friday that he will decide on a presidential bid after the state’s legislature adjourns, the Associated Press reported.
Perry’s extensive executive experience and conservative credentials would make him an instant contender in the smaller-than-expected primary field. A number of prominent Republicans, including Rush Limbaugh, have openly wished he would change his mind on running in recent months. In an interview with Greta van Susteren on FOX News this week, Perry said that he was “tempted” to run, but still was a no.
The longest serving governor in Texas history Perry may be best known nationally for comments he made in 2009 suggesting that his state could eventually secede if the federal government continued to encroach on state’s rights.
“We’ve got a great union,” Perry said, “There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”
While Perry has denied he favors secession, he’s one of the loudest voices in the GOP on 10th Amendment issues and frequently decries the federal government for interfering with state rights.
Perry raised his political stock considerably last year by easily fighting off a major challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in the gubernatorial primary as well as a popular Tea Party challenger, Debra Medina.
Update: Perry’s spokesman is tamping down the presidential speculation, though Perry may be the more knowledgable source on his own ambitions. “Nothing has changed,” Mark Miner told National Journal. “The governor has no intention of running for president.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.