Former Gov. Rick Perry is set to announce June 4 in Dallas whether he is running for president in 2016.
Perry and his wife, Anita, have scheduled a "special announcement" for the day, according to an invitation that went out Friday morning. The Republican has long said he would announce in late May or early June whether he would launch what has become an all-but-guaranteed second bid for the White House.
Unlike when he entered the 2012 race, Perry would be a decisive underdog in the 2016 contest. He has been polling in the low single digits in the early-voting states and still faces an indictment in Travis County on abuse-of-power charges. But he has been working to be more prepared for a presidential campaign than he was in 2011, brushing up on policy and spending more time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina than most other potential candidates.
Perry would be entering a GOP field that already includes a fellow Texan — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — as well as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. More Republicans are expected to declare their candidacies in the coming weeks, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Perry has been honing a message that the United States needs a seasoned executive like himself to get the country back on track after eight years of President Barack Obama. He has been emphasizing his salt-of-the-earth upbringing in small-town West Texas and military experience as a former Air Force pilot. Only one other potential candidate in the Republican field — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — is a veteran like Perry.
Perry also has been talking at length about what he has done to overcome the painful memories of his 2012 campaign, which ended in embarrassment after he forgot on a debate stage the third federal department he would abolish if elected. By his account, Perry had jumped into the race with little preparation — and just weeks after undergoing back surgery.
As he has traveled the country, Perry has promised he is healthier and readier than ever for the rigors of a 2016 run. Through his political action committee RickPAC, the former governor has assembled a team of dozens of people new and old to his political orbit. Jeff Miller, Perry's most senior adviser, is expected to run the campaign.
Besides the date and time — 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — few details were made public Friday morning about the Dallas announcement. Perry chose to launch his 2012 campaign at a gathering of conservative bloggers in South Carolina.
In an email to supporters shortly after the invitation went out, Anita Perry offered an early pitch for her husband's presidential timber.
"America is facing a time of testing," she wrote, "and it's clear that we need principled leadership and an optimistic vision to see us through after eight years of the Obama Administration."
This story was provided by the Texas Tribune.