Governor Rick Perry of Texas said Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2014 after serving three consecutive terms.
"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," Perry told supporters at a San Antonio Caterpillar dealership, adding he made his announcement with "humility and appreciation."
According to a recent PPP Poll, 60% of Texans think Perry should step aside and not seek a fourth term as governor.
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Perry said that a presidential bid in 2016 was "an option out there," but refused to make any commitments. Perry ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, but failed to gain traction with GOP primary voters.
A recent poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune shows a majority of Texans would prefer Sen. Ted Cruz to Perry in a 2016 presidential primary.
Perry had been in office since 2000, making him the longest-serving governor in the history of the Lone Star State.
“I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs, opportunity, and innovation," Perry added in his speech. "I will actively lead this great state.”
Perry's announcement leaves the door open for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has amassed $18 million in campaign funds for a potential gubernatorial bid.
The Texas Legislature is currently a week into a special session, which includes debate over a controversial abortion bill that was blocked late last month after an epic filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat. The bill passed out of a House Committee last week and is currently before a Senate Committee. A vote is scheduled Tuesday in the House.