Handicapping a Hutchison Successor
By CQ Staff | 9:07 PM; Oct. 21, 2007 |
By Jonathan Allen, CQ Staff
When Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
signaled last week that she might leave her seat early
to run for governor in 2010, Texas House Republicans
didnt exactly whoop and holler. Its not that they
dont like the idea of Hutchison in the statehouse;
rather, theyre reluctant to see incumbent Gov. Rick
Perry who has a distinctly chilly relationship with
the Lone Star States congressional delegation name
a successor to fill out Hutchisons term before a
special election is scheduled.
Whoever got that appointment would get an advantage
to keep that seat, says GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer .
And its unlikely indeed that Perry would grace any
Texas lawmakers in Washington with that advantage.
Hes not particularly close to anyone up here, says
one Texas GOP lawmaker who asked not to be identified.
Still, Hutchison, who told Texas Monthly editor Evan
Smith that she might bid adieu to the Capitol as early
as 2009, knows better than anyone that a Senate
appointment is no guarantee of a victory in the
ensuing special election. She won her seat in a 1993
special by beating Democrat Robert Kreuger, who had
been appointed to fill the vacancy created when Lloyd
Bentsen took the helm of the Treasury Department.
Observers of Texas politics are already speculating
about likely GOP aspirants to the seat, including
former Rep. Henry Bonilla and current Reps. Pete
Sessions, Jeb Hensarling and Kay Granger . But its
tough for any individual member of Texas 32-seat
House delegation to build statewide name recognition.
And in all likelihood, some well-established brands in
GOP state politics, such as sitting Lt. Gov. David
Dewhurst, will likely join the fray. There will be a
free-for-all for her seat, says Rep. Kevin Brady.
Meanwhile, theres also the prospect that Hutchison
will keep her Senate seat over the course of the
gubernatorial race and name her own successor as
former New Jersey Sen. Jon Corzine did in his
successful 2005 run for the Garden State governorship.
House Republicans are betting or at least hoping
that will keep her from resigning.
I dont think she does resign, Brady says.
This story originally appeared in CQ Today.