Governor Rick Perry of Texas announced today that he will not seek re-election to a fourth term. Perry, who is pro-life, left the door open to a second presidential bid in 2016 after his first attempt fizzled.
“The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” he said at a rally in San Antonio. “Today, I’m announcing I will not seek reelection as governor of Texas.”
“After January of 2015, new chapters will be written. New leaders will write them,” Perry said. “But the focus must remain on the greatest state in the nation and opportunity for her people’
“I make this announcement with the deepest sense of humility and appreciation for the trust the people of this state have given me, and knowing I will truly miss serving in this capacity – the greatest job in modern politics,” Gov. Perry said. “Our responsibility remains to the next generation of Texans, who will inherit a state of our making. We alone are responsible for the kind of Texas that will greet them. It is my hope that tomorrow’s leaders build on our legacy of opportunity so Texans born into any circumstances have a chance to experience the American Dream.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a rising Republican Party star, who is pro-life on abortion, is the leading contender with Perry not running. Abbott already has millions in the bank for a statewide bid.
Perry left open the possibility that he would try again and run for the White House, saying “any new decisions” he will announce “at the appropriate time.”
Perry’s stock has risen has he has helped lead pro-life efforts to pass a ban on late-term abortions in Texas.
Perry appeared on a Sunday current events television show and pledged that the Texas legislature will pass and he will sign the bill that bans late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Although Perry did not capture the Republican nomination to challenge pro-abortion President Barack Obama, he is still seen as a potential 2016 presidential candidate and he is beloved by conservative and pro-life activists.
Perry brought a lengthy pro-life record to the race to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama but poor debate performances took their toll and made it so Perry dropped from leading the GOP race to a fifth place finish in Iowa and a dead last finish in New Hampshire. Perry appeared to consider getting out of the race after the new Hampshire primary but suddenly jumped back in and said he would fight to regroup in South Carolina.
“I ran for president because I love America, I love our people, and our freedom,” Perry said at a press conference after leaving the race. “”Our objective is to defeat Obama and replace him with a conservative who will bring about real change.”
During the campaign, Perry announced that he had a change of heart on abortion in cases of rape or incest — now opposing abortion in such rare cases. Perry said his change of heart came after meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life attorney who was born after her birthmother was a victim of sexual assault.
“This is something that is relatively new and it goes back to a meeting with Rebecca Kiessling, who was at the The Gift of Life,” Perry said about meeting her at a recent showing of the new movie. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend exceptions for rape and incest.”
“Over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holiday, reflecting on that – I would suggest that my pro-life position has been rather strong as the Governor of Texas. But she made a statement to me that was really strong and pierced my heart. As I signed that document, I will suggest to you that all I can tell you is God was working on my heart,” he said.
“You’re seeing a transformation,” Perry said of his thinking on abortion and called his conversation with Kiessling “powerful.”
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Perry’s defunding of Planned Parenthood resulted in the shutdown of 12 Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas. Since 2005, Gov. Perry has signed budgets that include millions for pregnancy resource centers and other pro-life agencies that assist pregnant women.
The governor also signed a ban on late-term abortions and a law that requires a doctor to perform a sonogram on an expectant mother before performing an abortion. Additionally, every Texas budget signed by Gov. Perry prohibits funding of abortions by tax dollars. Perry has an extensive pro-life record in Texas and has received top grades from pro-life groups there. He has called for de-funding Planned Parenthood nationally as well.