Many stories in the past couple months have speculated on whether or not Texas Governor Rick Perry would run in 2012, however, the latest speculation is more along the lines of when he will choose to announce, not if. Perry has been working the Iowa circuit along with most of the other GOP hopefuls the past couple weeks reaching out to donors and caucus-goers.

Report from Politico:

Rick Perry has started calling Iowa Republicans and a former RNC finance chairman is helping to convene a meeting of national donors later this month in Austin to discuss financing a potential 2012 campaign — signs that the Texas governor and his allies are stepping up their exploratory efforts.

The developments come as Perry is being watched by a string of donors, early-state voters and elites who say they’re disenchanted, and in search of a stronger candidate.

Republican activist Joni Scotter told POLITICO she got a surprise phone call this afternoon from Perry, asking about the political landscape as it relates to him.

“It was just a surprise,” said Scotter, of Marion, who’s well-known for her frequent appearances at Iowa Republican events and is a coveted worker bee on presidential campaigns. She said she didn’t know how Perry got her number.

“He sounded great and just asked if he should run,” she said. “And I said, of course.” She said he said he hadn’t made up his mind.

Scotter declined to reveal more about the roughly 20-minute conversation, saying, “I feel like I am violating a trust…it is an honor that he even considered calling. It was a wonderful conversation.”

Dave Carney, Perry’s top strategist, confirmed that the governor had been reaching out to Republican caucus-goers.

“He is calling some folks, returning some calls and listening to what folks have to say,” said Carney.

Asked if it was activists or elected officials, he described the calls as going to “a mix of folks.”

At the same time, Peter Terpulek, a top bundler who President Bush appointed as ambassador to Luxembourg, has begun planning a gathering of some of the party’s top uncommitted donors for later this month in the Texas capital.

It’s unclear if Perry will attend the get-together, but a well-connected Texas Republican confirmed that the meeting was taking place and said it was part of an ongoing effort among the governor’s allies to determine “what is available on the financial side.”

“This isn’t the first or last meeting,” this source said, noting that there are also “other meetings in other states” in the works.

Perry is clearly laying the groundwork and unless something unexpected occurs between now and his announcement, I’d say he’s as good as in. If he aims to join the race prior to the August 13th Ames Straw Poll, my guess is he’s in by the end of July. If he’s not concerned about that deadline then I’d have to think he could wait until the end of August before announcing but it seems like from the recent chatter that he won’t be waiting that long.