Despite Wendy Davis’s best efforts to hand him a walkover victory for a fourth term, he’s decided to leave politics.

For now.

Perry has served as governor since 2000, when then-Gov. George W. Bush (R) became president. Perry was elected to full terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Perry also alluded to a potential 2016 presidential run, saying he will “pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path.”

Since his 2012 presidential bid floundered – capped off by his “oops” moment at a presidential debate — Perry has eyed a second run.

“Any future considerations I will announce in due time, and I will arrive at that decision appropriately,” he said.

The next governor of Texas, barring something unusual happening, will be state AG Greg Abbott. Question: If Perry has his eye on another presidential run, why retire now in order to run in 2016 rather than run as a sitting governor? Lots of answers to that — he can rest up, take time to organize, control his own agenda in a way that an incumbent can’t — but here’s a smart one from lefty Benjy Sarlin:

I’d expect Christie to have the inside track on Wall Street money given his regional pedigree, except that … Christie will be bound by this same rule, unless he turns around and resigns as governor less than halfway into his new term. (Romney, in fact, sounded Christie out for VP last year by asking him if he’d be willing to resign so that this rule would be lifted.) Hard for me to believe that a guy known as a red-meat conservative who flamed out spectacularly in 2012 will be the choice of New York Republicans in a field that might include Jeb Bush and/or Marco Rubio, but if you’re looking for a candidate who’s good for business and the economy, can’t argue against RP.

What’s his niche in the primaries if he does run, though? Conventional wisdom says 2016 will be a “fresh faces” election for the GOP. After last year’s dismal field and the next-in-line nomination of McCain in 2008, the party’s supposedly going to counter the “old news” that is Hillary with a young up-and-comer — Rubio, Jindal, Rand Paul, Christie, maybe Paul Ryan. The argument for Perry in a field like that is executive experience and economic growth, but those strike me as better credentials for a general election than for a primary. He’ll be to 2016 what Mitt Romney was to 2012, the guy who underperformed his first time out and is back now for a second look, except facing a vastly stronger array of opponents. I don’t think he ends up as the establishment choice, either: That’ll be either Jeb, which would detonate the “fresh faces” logic, or Rubio, who’s carried so much water lately for pro-amnesty interests inside the Beltway and on Wall Street. Perry strikes me as the kinda sorta solid candidate who’s a strong back-up in case everyone else is unacceptable — again, just like Romney four years ago — but what state will the party have arrived at if everyone else in what looks to be a strong field has crumbled by 2016? We’re not going to need a back-up in 2016. Are we?