Perry to announce political future on July 8

Rick Perry (CNN)

Rick Perry (CNN)

(CNN) — Rick Perry is inviting close friends and supporters to an event next Monday in San Antonio where he is expected to announce if he plans to seek an unprecedented fourth full term as Texas governor, CNN has learned.

Perry “will be making an announcement around mid-day in San Antonio concerning his exciting future plans,” according to a “Save the Date” email obtained Tuesday by CNN. The announcement comes as Perry finds himself at the center of a high-profile legislative fight over abortion rights in his state.

“Please join his family and closest friends on July 8th,” reads the email, which is being circulated to his political allies. “Details to follow.”

Perry has long said he will make a decision about his political future after the conclusion of this year’s legislative session, but because Democrats blocked the abortion measure with an attention-grabbing filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis last week, the governor was forced to call another session to tackle that issue and others.

Originally, Perry was supposed to announce his 2014 plans this week.

Most Texas political insiders don’t expect Perry, who has held the state’s top office since 2000, to run again, though many say he is considering another presidential run after his ill-fated 2012 effort.

As of the last financial reporting period, Perry, one of the Republican Party’s top fundraisers, had just $6 million in his campaign war chest. The next Republican in line for the governorship, state Attorney General Greg Abbott, had $18 million.

But people close to Perry have also been reminding reporters in recent weeks that he has a knack for changing his mind.

“I don’t think anyone knows what he is going to do until he gets up there and says it,” Ray Sullivan, Perry’s former chief-of-staff, when asked about next week’s event.

Before seeking a third term in 2010, Perry said he was not going to run again before changing his mind and trouncing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in a titanic Republican primary fight. Perry said no to a presidential run for many months, before ultimately jumping into the race in August 2011.

Then, after saying he would suspend his campaign following a disappointing finish in the 2012 Iowa caucuses, Perry suddenly tweeted that he would continue on in South Carolina, which surprised many of his staffers.

Perry-watchers got a clue that he might be nearing an announcement about his latest plans earlier Tuesday, when a Texas radio host interviewing Perry about the special session said “we get a few more weeks before we start badgering you about your future plans.”

Perry responded, “Yeah, or less even, we may let you know a little bit before that.”

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