Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Getty Images)
(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Monday that he won't run for re-election next year for an unprecedented fourth full term in office.
"The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," he said.
The announcement by the Republican governor opens the door to speculation that Perry will make another bid for the White House, in 2016.
Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history. He assumed the governorship in December 2000, when George W. Bush stepped down to become president. Perry was elected to full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Perry's announcement, made in San Antonio in front of friends and supporters, comes as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican, gears up for a gubernatorial bid in 2014.
Perry was originally expected to announce his plans by the end of June but delayed his decision after he called the state legislature into a special session to try to once again pass a controversial bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bill was sidetracked by a filibuster two weeks ago by Democratic state senator that grabbed national headlines.