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Perry Out, Eyes On Abbott

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R)(Chet Susslin)

photo of Reid Wilson
July 8, 2013

Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, will not seek re-election in 2014, he announced Monday, putting an end to a nearly 30-year political career that included a failed White House bid and almost a decade and a half in the governor's mansion.

Perry's decision, which he announced at a press conference in San Antonio, puts the spotlight on Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose interest in Perry's job is a barely-guarded secret. Abbott recently put out a web video aimed at introducing him to Texas voters, and he's got more than $11 million in the bank already.

Here's our Hotline spotlight on the Texas governor's race, which we ran last month after state Sen. Wendy Davis jumped into the national kliegs:

Last week, Wendy Davis was an unknown politician struggling to save her seat from partisan gerrymandering. This week, she's a rock star destined for bigger things. But is the Texas governor's race what she's after?

-- Davis's filibuster against an anti-abortion bill showed the power of social media in politics. After President Obama's account tweeted a link to a livestream of the speech, she went from 1,200 Twitter followers to more than 100K. Dems like Claire McCaskill, Colleen Hanabusa and Amy Klobuchar are either fundraising for her or using her crusade to build their own lists (ahem, 2016?).

-- Newly-signed redistricting maps preserve Davis's district (that wasn't a sure thing a few days ago). She's still thinking statewide, but governor's races are where Texas Dems go to die. Insiders think she'll run for Lt. Gov., setting herself up for a 2018 GOV bid when the Hispanic population has grown even more (Side note: That could set up a primary with Julian Castro, who has his own long game in mind).

-- The attention on Davis is obscuring Attorney General Greg Abbott's recent moves. He's building a team, and talking for the first time about the freak accident that left him paralyzed in a web video that sure looks like an all-but-announcement. Gov. Rick Perry says he'll make his own decision by the weekend; Abbott is maneuvering to become the early favorite.

Davis has a future statewide run in her. Abbott's is just coming sooner.

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