Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested over the weekend that he is more likely to run for president than he had previously indicated.
“I’m not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in,” Gov. Rick Perry told The Des Moines Register. “But I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do."
Perry could shake up the race in a big way: He has a large network of donors, strong appeal to social conservatives and close ties to the Tea Party movement, which could cut into the early polling lead Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has built up in Iowa.
He also is seen as a more seasoned candidate than Bachmann by some in the Republican establishment, meaning those unhappy with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney but looking for a polished alternative might back Perry.
In 2010 he faced a challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), a longtime foe. Perry took 51 percent of the primary vote, while Hutchison took 31 percent and Tea Party candidate Debra Medina took 19 percent.
He won reelection in 2006 with a 39 percent plurality of the vote, with another one-time Republican running as an Independent winning 18 percent.
In the past year Perry had unequivocally and repeatedly stated he did not want to run for president, but some Republican operatives who thought the primary field was weak have kept encouraging him to run.
He said he would announce his intentions in upcoming weeks, and has organized a day of prayer and fasting for Christians at the cavernous Reliant Stadium in Houston on Aug. 6. The event could be a dry run to see how well he is received by a national audience, and he could announce shortly afterward.