Perry had insisted repeatedly he would not seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama next year, although he has been urged to get in the race by party members unhappy with the current field.
Several high-profile Republicans have decided not to run in recent weeks, includingIndiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee andMississippi Governor Haley Barbour.
Perry, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have been at the top of the wish list for Republicans hoping to lure more big-name candidates into the race.
Perry had responded to recent questions about running by saying he was focused only on the Texas legislative session that ends on Monday. Bush and Christie have said they will not run, but Christie will meet next week with Iowa activists who want him in the race.
The slow-starting Republican campaign has begun to heat up. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty formally declared his candidacy this week, and formerMassachusetts Governor Mitt Romney plans to officially join the field next week.
Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the biggest Republican name still on the fence about a run, will raise her profile even higher in coming weeks with a bus tour and the Iowa premiere of a documentary film about her.
Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, is a steadfast conservative who was an early supporter of the small-government, low-tax Tea Party movement. He has frequently clashed with the federal government and Obama.
(Reporting by Corrie Maclaggan; Editing by Eric Beech and Philip Barbara)
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