While some in the party wonder if his star dimmed even further this summer when he was indicted on public corruption charges, Perry has nonetheless tried to remake his public image over the past year. In a series of high-profile interviews, the governor, sporting trendy new glasses that give him a more studious look, has admitted that he bungled 2012. He’s said the experience “humbled” him, and admitted he erred by jumping into the race without sufficient preparation and just six weeks after back surgery that left him in pain and unable to sleep.

Things would be different if he ran again, say sources who have interacted with the three-term governor, who is leaving the office after having held it longer than any other person in Texas history. They describe his health as “tip-top” and his policy expertise as light years ahead of where it was in the last presidential cycle — all of which he intends to highlight in his December donor meetings.

“If Gov. Perry is going to run, he’s going to be better prepared, and he’s going to have the resources necessary to compete,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican national committeeman who is helping plan for a Perry 2016 campaign and organizing next week’s donor sessions…

“I’m a huge fan of Gov. Perry’s and would do whatever I could to help, but other stars have emerged in the party, and I want to hear what they have to say,” said Matt Keelen, a GOP lobbyist who rallied Capitol Hill support for Perry’s 2012 campaign. Keelen specifically cited Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida as intriguing presidential prospects.