Before the state fundraising moratorium in December, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told donors that he would run for governor in 2014, according to a report by the ABC affiliate in Dallas. Republican Gov. Rick Perry has not yet revealed whether he will run for reelection. From WFAA:
A Republican source who knows of fundraising activity at this level told News 8 that, ahead of that December deadline, Abbott told big donors eager to back him in a run for governor that he would.
When asked for a reaction Thursday by KVUE-TV in Austin, Perry recalled the last prominent Republican to challenge him in a primary.
"Sen. Hutchison also announced that she was going to run for governor back in 2009 so everybody gets the freedom to do that," Perry said of the just retired senator he easily beat in 2010. "I'm real focused, which I hope the General is, too, on this legislative session."
But Perry could be significantly behind in the money race by mid-year.
At the midpoint of 2012, Abbott already had $14.5 million on hand, according to the finance records he's filed with the Texas Ethics Commission. Perry has just $3.4 million.
Asked if Abbott assured large donors he'll run, Texans for Greg Abbott Campaign spokesman Eric Bearse wrote in a statement, "General Abbott has not made any announcements or decisions other than to vigorously serve the people of Texas. As Gen. Abbott previously remarked in a press conference, political decisions can wait until after the session. In the meantime, he is focused on taking care of the business of the people of Texas."
Texas Republicans have long considered Abbott to be Perry's natural successor; the obvious question now is whether Abbott will have to wrest that mantle from the incumbent. Abbott would bring some of the same positives as Perry to a Republican primary. While Perry made a name for himself inveighing against the federal government, Abbott has taken the lead on that front over the past few years as the point man for Texas's struggle to implement its redistricting plan and its voter ID law, both of which were successfully opposed so far by the Justice Department and federal courts.