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Rick Perry for governor? For president? Both?

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Photo -   FILE - In this May 28, 2013 file photo, Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a ceremonial signing of a water fund bill, in Austin, Texas. Perry plans to announce any day if he will seek re-election next year. But that decision could depend as much on whether he wants to run for president again in 2016 as it does his desire to stay in the governor’s mansion. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
FILE - In this May 28, 2013 file photo, Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a ceremonial signing of a water fund bill, in Austin, Texas. Perry plans to announce any day if he will seek re-election next year. But that decision could depend as much on whether he wants to run for president again in 2016 as it does his desire to stay in the governor’s mansion. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry plans to announce any day if he will seek re-election next year. But that decision could depend as much on whether he wants to run for president again in 2016 as it does his desire to stay in the governor's mansion.

Already the longest-serving governor in state history, Perry's most prudent next political move may be establishing himself as a national conservative agenda-setter — perhaps in the mold of Sarah Palin — if he hopes to make another run at the White House. But would keeping or quitting his day job be the best way to accomplish that?

Forgoing a run at a fourth term as governor would allow Perry to focus on rebuilding a national image that plummeted after his 2012 presidential campaign flamed out with his "oops" moment — when he infamously forgot the third of three federal departments he wanted to abolish. But remaining in office could keep Perry closer to crucial donors and strengthen his record as a job creator overseeing the state's booming economy.

"The time and focus it takes to mount the presidential campaign is significant; he knows that better than in 2011," said Ray Sullivan, a political strategist who served as communications director for Perry's presidential bid, when he waited until late summer 2011 to enter the race and had dropped out by the following January.

"One of the things we learned big time then is the amount of time it takes to organize and sustain a presidential campaign," Sullivan said. "Clearly, the short fuse before he announced in August of 2011 did not give the campaign sufficient time to do that."

If Perry seeks another gubernatorial term, though, he would likely face a primary dogfight with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The fellow Republican is popular with the tea party and much of the Texas GOP mainstream and has a formidable $18 million-plus in his campaign war chest —about three times what Perry has raised.

Perry's mantle — whether he runs for governor or president — would be job creation, overseeing a state that created nearly half the nation's new jobs in the two years following the official end of the country's recession in June 2009.

There are signs Perry has already begun that effort. He made recent, high-profile trips to California and Illinois, ostensibly to recruit companies to Texas — but also to reconnect with political donors far from home. The governor also has made fairly frequent appearances on Fox News and other national media outlets.

But his record and efforts to promote it still have Perry in the single digits in preliminary Republican polls of possible presidential contenders.

Asked Friday if he was thinking about running for president as he decides on another gubernatorial run, Perry said he's focused on the month-long special legislative session he called to address the state's new voting maps.

"I'm not thinking about anything past the next 30 days," he said, adding there's "plenty of time in the future to be making decisions about what I may or may not do politically."

While Perry would likely have an easier time fundraising if he remains governor — a post that helped propel a cash-flush George W. Bush to the White House in 2000 — his campaign donations may not drop-off as quickly as others if he were to leave office, especially given that he's wielded so much power for so long in deep-pocketed Texas.

"There's a lot of money out there that's going to be with him whether he explains what he's up to or not," said Roy Bailey, a Dallas insurance executive who has been a top Perry fundraiser. "It's a substantial amount."

Still, any presidential ambitions would hinge on whether Perry can convince his donors that "we're not going to make the same mistakes again," said Hogan Gidley, a campaign adviser to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, both unsuccessful GOP presidential hopefuls who have remained national conservative forces even far-removed from their time in office.

"I'm saying this as calmly and kindly as I can: (Santorum and Huckabee) are what people would consider a successful candidate when it came to running for president," Gidley said.

"Governor Perry, he was that Fred Thompson failure," Gidley said of the former Tennessee senator's much-anticipated but short-lived 2008 presidential campaign.

GOP political consultant and former Bush campaign adviser Mark McKinnon quipped that if Perry does not seek re-election he would have extra time to study up on which federal agencies he wants to shutter.

"If Rick Perry doesn't run again for governor, I bet he runs for president," McKinnon said, "with plenty of time to prepare and remember number three."

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