Texas Governor Rick Perry, an early Tea Party supporter, plans to step into the Republican presidential campaign this weekend in South Carolina and New Hampshire, the Associated Press and Washington Post reported.

Perry, 61, who has toyed with a run for weeks, will make his bid official tomorrow, according to the reports, the same day the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames will offer a test of campaign strength other Republican presidential candidates. Both reports cited Mark Miner, the governor’s spokesman, who didn’t respond to telephone calls and e-mail messages seeking comment.

The longest-serving U.S. governor is set to speak tomorrow at a conference sponsored by RedState.com, a Washington-based weblog that describes itself as “conservative” on its site. He’s scheduled to go from there to New Hampshire, site of the first 2012 presidential primary.

Perry’s appearances will divert attention from those competing in the straw poll at Ames, Iowa. Perry isn’t on the straw-poll ballot, though supporters can write-in his name.

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