DALLAS (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that Attorney General Greg Abbott has agreed not to challenge him in the 2014 Republican primary if Perry chooses to seek re-election.
In an interview after a taping of "Inside Texas Politics" at the WFAA-TV studios in Dallas, Perry said he and his fellow Republican have a deal.
"Greg is a dear friend. He has said clearly that if I ran again he's not going to be running against me, but that's beside the point," he told the station and The Dallas Morning News.
Asked to clarify that Abbott had specified that he would not run for governor if Perry seeks re-election, the governor said, "We've had that conversation, yes."
A spokesman for Abbott declined to comment on Perry's statement and said any speculation on Abbott's political future would be "unproductive."
"Gov. Perry and Gen. Abbott are close friends, and talk frequently," Abbott spokesman Eric Bearse said in a written statement. "I am not going to comment on private conversations I am not privy to. General Abbott is focused on taking care of the business of Texas, and political speculation right now is unproductive. The time for politics is after the legislative session."
Results of a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday showed 41 percent support for Perry among GOP voters to Abbott's 38 percent. However, among GOP voters who express familiarity with both men, Abbott leads Perry 55 percent to 33 percent.
Abbott has $18 million in cash on hand for a campaign, compared to Perry's $6 million. Perry hasn't said if he'll seek re-election as governor, but observers have said they expect Abbott may enter the Republican gubernatorial primary regardless.
However, Perry is keeping open the possibility of another presidential run in 2016.
"It will work itself out, too, after 2014 I'm betting," he said. Perry ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination but withdrew after poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.