Dave Carney, Perry's longtime political consultant, told me the other day that Perry, who has said he'll seek a third full term in two years, is focused on raising millions of dollars and crafting a strong plan for a general-election showdown against a Democrat.
"Fundraising is the least of our problems," Carney said. "I'm anticipating an aggressive general election. I'm not anticipating a problem in the primary."
Carney said that until Hutchison does something beyond privately telling activists she's inclined to run for governor, skepticism should reign.
"Until she actually does something real -- resigns or runs -- people will always be skeptical because we've been down this road," Carney said, a reference to Hutchison's looks at running for guv in 2002 and 2006.
When I reminded Carney that at least a few Capitol observers doubt Perry will follow through with his declared plans to run again, he replied: "The political chattering class has this inability to believe anybody would say what they believe or what they plan. He absolutely is going to run."