Rick Perry Challenger Emerges As Tom Pauken Takes Steps Toward Texas Gubernatorial Run

03/21/2013 04:37 pm ET

Former Texas GOP chairman Tom Pauken has emerged as the first potential primary challenger to Gov. Rick Perry (R).

The AP reports Pauken appointed a campaign treasurer on Thursday, a necessary step that allows him to raise and spend campaign funds. Pauken confirmed to the Texas Tribune that he'd be running for governor of the Lone Star State in 2014.

"I like Rick Perry. I like [Attorney General] Greg Abbott," Pauken said. "I don’t know what they’re going to do. One or both may run. I’m going to run on issues."

Pauken is an Army veteran who served as a White House lawyer under President Ronald Reagan and has worked with the Texas Workforce Commission.

Perry has yet to announce any future political plans, but says he will announce in June his intentions on seeking a fourth term as governor, according to the AP. Perry recently told The Shark Tank he would announce his decision on a potential 2016 presidential run "sometime later in the year."

An online UT-Austin/Texas Tribune survey released in early March signaled Perry has little support from Texas voters.

HuffPost's Ariel Edwards-Levy reported earlier:

Texans are more likely to say they'd vote against Gov. Rick Perry (R) than for him if he runs for reelection in 2014, according to an online UT-Austin/Texas Tribune survey released Monday.

Just 26 percent said they would vote for Perry, compared to the 36 percent that said they'd vote against him. The rest said they were unsure, or that they'd need to wait and see who is running against him.

While the wording of the question is a somewhat unusual way of gauging a politician's chances at reelection, the results are in line with a survey from Democratic pollsters PPP that found most voters, including a healthy percentage of Republicans, don't want Perry to run again.

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