After months of hints, Rick Perry appears to be on the verge of officially jumping into the 2012 GOP presidential race.
Sources tell Politico the Texas governor will "make clear" he's running for president during an appearance at gathering sponsored by the conservative blog RedState in South Carolina on Saturday--the same day as the 2012 straw poll in Iowa.
According to Politico, it's unclear if Perry's announcement will be a "formal declaration." But the news comes on the heels of an email sent by one top supporter to potential donors this weekend that urged them to begin raising cash for the governor's 2012 bid.
"We expect an announcement in a week to ten days," Gene Powell, a Texas real estate executive who has been a longtime supporter of Perry, says in the email obtained by the Washington Post's Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza.
The note contains instructions to make checks out to the "Perry for President Campaign" and says a major fundraiser is scheduled for San Antonio on Sept. 1.
This follows a similar report from the Austin American Statesman's Jason Embry, who reported over the weekend that leaders of Perry's fundraising operation had emailed marching orders to potential bundlers on how to raise cash for a presidential campaign.
While Perry has been publicly cagey about his 2012 aspirations, the governor has been privately courting donors and reaching out to top Republicans in key early primary states, including Iowa and New Hampshire for weeks.
In spite of rumors that he might make a surprise appearance, Perry is expected to skip this weekend's 2012 GOP straw poll in Iowa, where supporters are pushing attendees to write in his name on the ballot. But in addition to his trip to South Carolina on Saturday, it was announced today that he'll also appear at a house party in New Hampshire, where he'll meet with prospective GOP voters.
If Perry does declare on Saturday, it's likely to overshadow the events in Iowa, where candidates including Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty are vying to be the alternate contender to GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. Perry has signaled he'll compete in Iowa--and, indeed, Politico reports he'll visit there in coming weeks.
But it's unclear how taking away attention from an Iowa GOP event will play with voters in the state, since Iowa political leaders are frequently battling to maintain the state's influence and clout in the early phase of the primary cycle.