Hutchison still unsure on run for governor
Posted on Tue, Feb. 08, 2005
Senator still unsure on run for governor
By Jack Douglas Jr.
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
FORT WORTH - U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said
Monday that she is still considering whether to run
against Gov. Rick Perry next year, and she vowed not
to be swayed in her decision by political forces who
want to prevent such a race.
Hutchison acknowledged that Perry supporters are
preparing for a campaign against her, including
questioning her credentials as a conservative, if she
runs for governor.
"I have heard that some people will put in whatever it
takes to defeat me. But that is of no consequence to
me," Hutchison said after speaking at a luncheon
sponsored by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and
the Fort Worth Petroleum Club.
Perry's campaign manager, Luis Saenz, declined Monday
to speculate on a race between Perry and Hutchison.
"The governor is focused on reforming education,
cutting property taxes, improving transportation and
creating jobs," Saenz said. "There will be plenty of
time for politics later."
Hutchison said she will most likely decide this summer
whether she will take on Perry, a fellow Republican,
in a primary matchup that could prove divisive in the
State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is another
Republican considering a run for governor.
Hutchison denied speculation that President Bush or
Republicans close to him have attempted to persuade
her to stay in Washington rather than creating a party
rift by challenging Perry.
"The president ... would not get involved," she said.
Hutchison and Perry have in recent months publicly
disagreed on how to solve the school-finance crisis.
And Hutchison said last month that Perry and other
Republican lawmakers in Austin failed to take
advantage of $104 million in federal money for health
insurance for children.
"I just want to see what the lay of the land is after
the legislative session. I'll certainly take into
consideration all of the factors," Hutchison said
"If the issues I think are important to Texas are
addressed in the right way, I [won't] be running."
- Most people here in Texas seem to be sure that Hutchison will beat
Perry (the incumbent) and then beat whoever the Democrats nominate,
and be our third female governor. I don't know enough Republicans to
know why there's suddenly this split in the state party. But there
definetely is some sort of split. It may just be caused by the
personal ambitions of Hutchison and Perry, or it may be ideological.
Perry is being backed by influential businessmen in my hometown, El
Paso. Hutchison, as far as I know, has never strayed from the party
line while in the Senate. Polls show her as far more popular than
Perry, both among Republicans among Texans in general. And she has
said that she won't run for governor if the state government starts
doing what she thinks it ought to (exactly what that is, I don't know).
Personally, I like the other Republican running, Carol Keeton Rylander
McClellan Strayhorn (and there may be more), better than either Perry
or Hutchison. Strayhorn is the comptroller general, a sort of
financial ombudsman (or ombudswoman actually). I have no idea what her
positions are on social issues, but she has a reputation as a champion
of fiscal responsibility and her slogan is "one tough grandma". She's
the mother of White House spokesman Scott McClellan. But she's not as
well-known as either Perry or Hutchison and she's already way behind
As far as I know, only one Democrat has announced he's running, and
that's former congressman Chris Bell. I'd like to say he, or any
Democrat, has a chance at winning, but I don't think they really do.
I've heard rumors that last year's Libertarian presidential candidate,
Michael Badnarik, may run. And, of course, there's the independent
candidate, Kinky Friedman. If he gets on the ballot, I may end up
voting for him. To get on the ballot, he'll need to gather about
45,000 signatures during a one month period next spring (it's 45,000
because that's 1% of how many people voted in the governor race in
2002, that's what the law requires for independent or third parties
have to get on the ballot). A friend of mine may try to organize a
local signature-gathering and I may help her. I gathered signatures
for Nader in 2000 and people were willing to sign even if they didn't
plan to vote for him, and I think Friedman is a lot more popular here
than Nader was. The problem is that any signature is invalid if that
person votes in the primaries.
All of this, of course, is ignoring that the governor of Texas is a
very weak office. The lieutenant governor actually has more power.
It's a legacy of when powerful governors were accused of misusing
their power (the Radical Republican who was in office during
Reconstruction, and then Pa Ferguson and Ma Ferguson in the 1920s). No
one's paying attention to the race for lieutenant governor (not even
me). The incumbent for that office is a Republican, David Dewhurst I
think is his name. The office of Texas governor is now perhaps seen as
a stepping stone to the presidency though, and Hutchison is rumored to
have that on her mind.
And the race for senator is also very important. The only candidate
there so far is Republican Congressman Henry Bonilla who will only run
for senator if Hutchison runs for governor. I know people here worried
that a Hispanic Republican candidate would draw support from
Hispanics, one of the few groups of supporters that Texas Democrats
have left. There are of course plenty of Hispanic politicians the
Democrats could nominate, but there's no reason to think that any of
them would draw support from Texans who normally vote Republican. So I
think the Republican will win the Senate race, whether their candidate
is Bonilla or Hutchison. Before Bonilla announced his intentions, I'd
been wondering why the GOP didn't just sit Perry and Hutchison down
together and tell them to switch jobs.
So that's my take on things. Next year we'll get a new senator and a
new governor, both of them Republicans. Unless Hutchison changes her
mind, which is still very possible.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
> What do you think about her odds, Greg?