Perry tipped for White House bid
A conservative Texas governor appears poised to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a move certain to shake up the contest.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, who holds the same job that former president George W Bush did before he ran for the White House, could present a credible conservative challenge to current front-runner Mitt Romney.
Mr Romney has built up a network of supporters since his unsuccessful run for the nomination in 2000 and for months has led the Republican field in polls and money while no less than a half-dozen candidates have fought to emerge as his main challenger.
Yet conservatives who dominate the Republican nominating process still view Mr Romney with suspicion, because of his Mormon faith and his shifting positions on social issues since he served as governor of the staunchly Democratic state of Massachusetts.
The Republican electorate has made clear in polls that it wants more choices, perhaps a conservative, such as Mr Perry, who is strong on both economic and social issues.
Republican officials close to Mr Perry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to disclose his plans, said it is all but certain the governor will run.
Another, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a formal announcement is tentatively planned for the middle of next week, but cautioned that Mr Perry has not made a final decision.
Fuelling speculation that he will run, Mr Perry plans visit at least two crucial early primary states - South Carolina and New Hampshire - on Saturday at the same time most of his would-be opponents are competing in an important test vote in Iowa.
Mr Perry's staff refused to discuss his plans beyond issuing a statement from spokesman Mark Miner: "The governor is not a candidate for office at this time. With President Obama's dismal economic record, and Texas' success in creating jobs and balancing our budget, Governor Perry continues to consider a potential run for the White House. Stay tuned."