Jessica M. Karmasek Feb. 8, 2013, 4:50pm

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Texas lawmaker Dan Branch said this week he is mulling over a run for attorney general in 2014.

Branch, a Republican who represents the "heart of Dallas" in the state House of Representatives, currently serves as chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, and is a member of the Legislative Budget Board and a member of the Calendars and Pensions Committees.

Branch told The Dallas Morning News Tuesday that he is considering a campaign to be the state's next top lawyer -- that is, if current Attorney General Greg Abbott decides to run for another office.

"I've been encouraged to look at it," he told the newspaper. "I'm grateful that people see me as worthy of making such a run."

The news comes on the heels of Gov. Rick Perry's revelation last week that Abbott has agreed not to run against him for governor next year.

Perry, a Republican, assumed the Governor's Office in December 2000 when then-Gov. George W. Bush stepped down to become President of the United States.

Perry was subsequently elected to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

He is the fourth Texas governor since Allan Shivers, Price Daniel and John Connally to serve three terms.

Abbott, the second Republican since Reconstruction to serve as the state's top lawyer, was sworn in December 2002 after John Cornyn's election to the U.S. Senate.

Prior to assuming the office, Abbott served as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, a position to which he was initially appointed in 1995 by Bush.

During a taping of Inside Texas Politics last week, Perry said he and Abbott have a deal: If he decides to run for re-election in 2014, the attorney general will not oppose him in the primary.

"Greg is a dear friend. He has said clearly that if I ran again he's not going to be running against me," Perry said during the interview, conducted by WFAA-TV and the Morning News.

An Abbott spokesman, in a follow-up interview with the Morning News, would not confirm or deny the arrangement.

"Gov. Perry and (Attorney) General Abbott are close friends, and talk frequently. I am not going to comment on private conversations I am not privy to," spokesman Eric Bearse told the newspaper.

"General Abbott is focused on taking care of the business of Texas, and political speculation right now is unproductive. The time for politics is after the legislative session."

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