Texas Gov. Rick Perry will officially announce he’s running for president on Saturday in South Carolina, the Associated Press reports.
Sources close to Perry said earlier this week that he would make it clear Saturday that he's running for president but would stop short of officially declaring. Perry is set to speak in Columbia at the RedState Gathering, an annual meeting of conservative activists headlines by blogger Erick Erickson. It is not immediately clear why Perry changed his mind.
His announcement in South Carolina—which holds the third contest of the presidential season, after Iowa and New Hampshire—comes on the same day as the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, where Perry is not on the ballot but supporters can write in his name. The decision to hold an event simultaneous with the straw poll has ruffled some feathers in the Hawkeye State.
After his South Carolina announcement, Perry is set to travel to New Hampshire later Saturday and attend an event in Waterloo, Iowa Sunday—a local county GOP dinner where a rival contender for the GOP presidential nomination, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is also scheduled to speak. Bachmann was born in Waterloo.
The country’s longest serving governor after taking over for George W. Bush in 2000, Perry will immediately become one of the primary’s strongest candidates. Many national polls already show him running a strong second to Romney despite lower name recognition, and he can appeal to both social and fiscal conservatives. But it remains to be seen whether Perry can overcome his late entrance into the race or whether the governor can withstand the scrutiny of a national campaign.