Marilyn Tennissen Jul. 8, 2013, 2:48pm

Rick Perry announced today that he will not seek reelection to the office of governor when his term expires in 2014.

"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry said at a news conference in San Antonio.

Perry has been governor of Texas since 2000, making him the longest-serving governor in the state's history.

Many suspect Perry will soon follow up this announcement with another stating his plans to run for president, but he says he is currently focused on the special session of the Texas Legislature called to consider an abortion ban.

Perry fumbled his first run at the presidency in 2012. After starting out as a favorite among Republican candidates, but after he drew a blank during a televised debate Perry's campaigned crashed and burned.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also has announced he will not run for reelection to the AG's office. Speculation is running high around the state that Abbott will now toss his hat in the race for governor.

Abbott lauded his fellow Republican in a statement after Perry's announcement.

"It has been a tremendous honor to work alongside Gov. Rick Perry to help lead the great State of Texas," Abbott stated. "As Governor, Rick Perry has fought for lower taxes, less regulation and more job creation – all of which have helped Texas claim the best business climate in the nation. Along the way, Governor Perry has kept Washington in check, working to block an intrusive federal government from meddling in our personal lives and preventing the heavy-hand of government from stifling small businesses in Texas."

Richard J. Trabulsi Jr. of Texans for Lawsuit Reform had praise for Perry's work on reforming Texas' litigation system.

“Governor Rick Perry has been the most effective tort reformer in our nation’s history.  Broad and effective reforms have been enacted in each of the legislative sessions in which he has been Governor, including reforms to medical liability lawsuits, abusive asbestos and other mass-tort litigation, and product liability cases," Trabulsi said in a statement.  "The Governor has also shown leadership in making litigation more fair and efficient, enabling defendants to get a fair trial and plaintiffs to get quicker and fuller settlements.  In addition, the Governor has appointed outstanding lawyers and legal scholars to the Texas judiciary as vacancies have occurred.

"The result is that Texas has moved from perhaps the most unfair civil justice system in America to one that has greater balance and predictability, which is a big reason why Texas has led the nation in economic and job growth during Rick Perry’s tenure as Governor.”

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