TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Gov. Rick Perry’s announcement that after nearly thirteen years in office, he won’t seek a fourth full term next year begs the question — what’s next?
The longest-serving governor in Texas history has certainly left his options open. It’s pretty clear what he wants, according to Dallas County GOP Chair Wade Emmert, who said Perry obviously wants to run for president. But who’s to say Perry knows what political course he wants to take.
“If he starts going to primary states and raising money it may be a clue,” said Allan Saxe, associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at Arlington.
But Saxe said he doesn’t believe Perry is a strong presidential candidate; perhaps better suited as a Republican fundraiser and potential Vice-Presidential nominee. After stumbling out of the gate last time, Perry may just be taking some time to re-focus.
“That’s why he’s not running for governor again, because he needs time to prepare himself intellectually and his campaign team for a second run,” according to Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University.
If a second run really isn’t in the cards for Perry, again — he has options. He has likely already received numerous offers, according to Saxe, to join boards of directors of corporations and various foundations.
Perry has positioned himself to leave at the top, similar to a pro-athlete retiring ahead of the game. His announcement has nothing to with a possible presidential run, according to Saxe, who thinks he may later endorse his friend, Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Regardless of what’s next for Perry, many fellow Republicans are rejoicing that he’s leaving. His departure creates a ripple of opportunity throughout the party for politicians looking to move up.
“We’re gonna have the largest shakeup of Texas politics in the last twelve years,” said Emmert.
Democrats are also celebrating; questioning what’s their next move, too.
“If we can crack an office, I don’t know which one — governor, land commissioner, attorney general — whatever, then it gives Democrats hope they can win statewide office,” said Dallas County Democratic Chair, Darlene Ewing. “All we need is one to put this state back in play.”
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