SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, says he won't seek re-election in 2014.
The staunch Christian and fiscal conservative said Monday he plans to retire. That sets up an opening for fellow Republican and longtime Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott in next year's GOP primary.
The 63-year-old Perry ran for president in 2011. He's best known in that campaign for uttering "Oops" during a debate after forgetting the third of three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate if elected.
Before that, Perry stirred controversy by suggesting Texas could secede from the U.S., and for shooting a coyote with a concealed handgun while jogging.
Still, he's considered the most powerful Texas governor since the Civil War because he served long enough to fill every state agency with his loyalists.
From the previous story:
Will he or won't he?
Gov. Rick Perry has invited friends and supporters to San Antonio and the country's largest Caterpillar equipment dealership Monday afternoon to announce "exciting future plans."
The longest-serving governor in Texas history should reveal if he'll seek a fourth full term in office next year. The location is meant to symbolize Perry's prowess as a job-creator overseeing the state's booming economy.
Perry was lieutenant governor but moved up when George W. Bush left for the White House in December 2000.
If he runs again, Perry may face a challenge in the GOP primary from well-funded Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Perry hasn't offered hints on his plans. But he also hasn't ruled out another White House run. Perry in January 2012 dropped his presidential bid.