Then came “Oops” and Perry’s tumble from powerhouse to punchline.

Now he’s back, hitting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina hard and early, and studying up on policy to become better prepared.

A senior adviser to Perry tells The Associated Press that the former governor will make the widely expected announcement that he’s in the 2016 race on Thursday in Dallas. The adviser requested anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement.

As Perry returns to presidential politics, the question remains: Will he get another solid chance?

“It’s going to be hard to make a first impression a second time,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist in Washington.

Perry’s camp notes that many past Republican candidates, including Mitt Romney in 2012, rebounded to win the party’s presidential nomination after failing in a previous bid. But O’Connell, the GOP strategist, said the 2016 field is “extremely talented and deep” compared to four years ago.

“For him to win the nomination,” O’Connell said, “he’s going to have to be great, but a lot of people are going to have to trip and fall along the way.”

Read more from Will Weissert and Steve Peoples at The Associated Press