Texas Republicans are holding their collective breath. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce whether or not he'll seek a fourth consecutive term at 1 p.m.
Perry’s will stage his event at the Holt Caterpillar dealership in San Antonio where he’s expected to highlight jobs and economic development under his administration.
Dealership CEO Peter Holt also owns the San Antonio Spurs and is a big Perry donor.
The political futures of other Republicans depend on what Perry has decided.
If he opts to remove himself from the Texas ticket, Republican Attorney General Gregg Abbott is likely to leave his job and campaign for the governor’s position.
That would leave the attorney general’s slot open, and a number of locally elected Republicans, including State Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas, could compete for that job. Which would then put their local seats up for grabs.
Many pundits seem to think Perry is ready to put that scenario in motion. At the end of this term next year he will have served 14 years as governor.
SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson says Perry may be stepping aside so he can devote time to another presidential campaign in 2016.
“Getting a national staff, putting the fundraising in place, and building his own intellectual resources to run for the presidency. He needs that time,” said Jillson who adds Perry wasn’t ready for the national stage when he last ran for the White House.
But Jillson said Perry will be difficult to beat if he runs again for governor.
“He’s got a very thick Rolodex and the fundraising ability to put up $30, $40 million dollars for an election is there.”
“The only question is whether Greg Abbott, the attorney general, with an $18 million war chest decides to challenge Perry simply because he’s tired of being the AG which he’s been since 2002,” said Jillson.
Perry has said he and Abbott have promised not to run against each other for the Republican nomination. But what if they did?
“Abbott would be competitive because as attorney general he has brought a series of cases on Texas’ behalf against the federal government. Those cases have really made him a hero with the conservative, tea party elements in Texas and they are strong in the Republican primary,” said Jillson.
But Jill says Perry knows how to win the governorship, “So I think you have to put your money on Perry against Abbott.”
Even Perry’s closest advisors claim they don’t know what he’s going to announce.
But shortly after the clock strikes 1 p.m., expect Twitter, Facebook and all other manner of social media to glow red-hot as Perry sets the table for next year’s statewide Republican primaries.