SAN ANTONIO Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, has announced he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Perry, who first began as governor in 2000 after the election of then-Governor George W. Bush as U.S. president, made the announcement at an event in San Antonio Monday afternoon.
Perry is serving his third full term, and called being Texas governor "the greatest job in modern politics," and touted the state's successes over his tenure, including jobs growth and a more stable economy than the rest of the nation saw during recent down times.
An emotional Perry, 63, said it was time to "pass the mantle of leadership" in the state, but that he will work for the remainder of his term to help grow Texas and explore other options for himself at a later date.
Perry ran for the Republican nomination for president during the last general election and led the race at one point, but a number of bad performances during public events sent his poll numbers down.
He is a graduate of Texas A&M as part of the Class of 1972. In his speech Monday, Perry spent time discussing the biotechnology growth happening in the Brazos Valley.
"I'm especially proud that our investments attracted major federal research funding to develop new vaccines at Texas A&M University to respond to major outbreaks to new strains of the flu or threats of bioterrorism," Perry said. "The Brazos Valley is already being transformed into a biotech corridor that is luring major pharmaceutical investment and that will be home to thousands of new jobs."
As Perry's speech ended, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott tweeted, "Thanks to @GovernorPerry for his service & conservative leadership!" Abbott, also a Republican, is believed to have been exploring a run for governor.
The senior U.S. senator from Texas, John Cornyn, also weighed in on the announcement, saying in a statement, “Under Governor Perry’s leadership, Texas has been a shining example that less government, lower taxes and fewer regulations helps to grow jobs and move our economy forward. It’s a striking contrast to the big government, big spending, liberal mindset of the current Administration."
Meanwhile, State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) said, "I usually disagree with the Governor several times per day, but I appreciate his love of Texas and wish him the best of luck. Unfortunately, his legacy will be one of cutting education funding, pushing more testing into our classrooms, and promoting issues that divide Texans rather than bringing us together."
The executive director of Battleground Texas had more harsh words about Perry.
"After twelve years of failed policies and divisive rhetoric, it's welcome news that Governor Perry announced he will not run for re-election," said Jenn Brown. "It's time for a new era in the Lone Star State - Texans deserve a leader who will stand up and fight for their values."
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Info from the Associated Press was used in this story