Even as he announced he wasn't running for governor again, Rick Perry implored Texans not to rock the political boat too much in choosing a successor.
Channeling late University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal, Perry quipped Monday: "You gotta dance with the one that brung ya."
Perry stopped short of endorsing his Republican heir apparent, state Attorney General Greg Abbott. Still, there was little debate in GOP circles that's who he was talking about.
The 55-year-old is popular with grassroots tea party activists and mainstream conservatives. He's already raised $18 million in campaign funds.
A spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he's not making any big announcements this week now that Gov. Rick Perry has made his future plans clear.
The attorney general congratulated Perry for his years of service and praised him for creating the "best business climate in the nation."
Spokesman Matt Hirsch said Abbott will "make his intentions clear in the coming weeks."
Abbott is scheduled to begin a statewide tour to meet and greet voters on Sunday, starting in San Antonio. Then he will visit Houston in Monday and other cities later.
Abbott is expected to run for governor in 2014.