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The Brief: July 9, 2013

Though expected, Gov. Rick Perry's major announcement on Monday still managed to jolt the Texas political world.

Gov. Rick Perry in San Antonio on July 8, 2013, announcing that he will not seek re-election.

The Big Conversation

Though expected, Gov. Rick Perry's major announcement on Monday still managed to jolt the Texas political world. 

As predicted, Perry — who has served as the state's governor for a record 12 and a half years — announced at a media event in San Antonio that he would not run for re-election in 2014.

"I remain excited about the future and the challenges ahead, but the time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry said. "Today I am announcing I will not seek re-election as governor of Texas. I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity and innovation. I will actively lead this great state."

Inevitably, the announcement shifted attention to Attorney General Greg Abbott, the front-runner to succeed Perry, and to the other statewide candidates looking to move up. Though Abbott has not yet announced his candidacy, a spokesman said the attorney general would reveal his political plans in the "coming weeks." 

But Perry's political future didn't cede the spotlight on Monday.

"My gut says he is going to make another [presidential] run," Ray Sullivan, a former Perry chief of staff who was at the event, told the Austin American-Statesman.

In his speech, Perry only made reference to "future considerations," which he said he would announce in "due time."

As The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes, Perry's announcement also raised questions not just about Perry's political future, but also about the future of Republican politics in Texas in the absence of one of its central figures. 

Whatever the fate of the state's GOP, Perry's announcement has unquestionably marked the beginning of a new era in Texas politics.

"The question now is will the next era be even more strident, or will the party soften and become more diverse and tolerant?" political strategist Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to George W. Bush, told the Post. "Texas is a two-party state, but as yet, the Democrats aren’t one of them. The real battle at least for the next political cycle will be over the direction of the Republican Party, not so much the ascension of the Democrats."


•    Activists Gather for Prayer Rally, March on Abortion Bills (The Texas Tribune): "As impassioned testimony on proposed abortion regulations continued through the night, supporters of the legislation rallied and prayed at the Capitol with conservative Texas lawmakers, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and other leaders from national anti-abortion groups."

•    Texas Senators Reopen Debate on Abortion Regulations (The Texas Tribune): "After hundreds of abortion opponents rallied outside the Texas Capitol to show their support for proposed abortion regulations, state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, announced that more than 3,800 people had registered a position on Senate Bill 1 throughout the day."

•    Wisconsin Abortion Law Signed By Gov. Scott Walker Blocked By Judge (The Associated Press): "A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday evening to block enforcement of a new Wisconsin law that bans doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing abortions."

Quote to Note: "Tonight, it's not so much that the eyes of Texas are upon you. It's that the eyes of America are on Texas." — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at an anti-abortion rally at the Capitol on Monday evening


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