White House believes Hutchison won't run for governor
GOP casts doubt on Hutchison's run for governor
Midland Reporter Telegram
Republicans cast doubt over Hutchison's run for
By Bob Campbell
Rollicking speculation on the plans of U.S. Sen. Kay
Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, got a recharge Wednesday
with the circulation of a report the White House
believes she won't oppose Gov. Rick Perry's
re-election next year.
Two prominent Midland Republicans voiced relief that
Hutchison won't force them and others to choose
between the two heavyweights who have enjoyed their
mutual support in the past.
However, Hutchison's campaign manager for whichever
race she ends up in naysayed the U.S. News & World
Report bulletin that said, "Senior Bush aides have
concluded that Hutchison likely won't take on Perry in
the (March) GOP primary.
"Instead, they believe Hutchison will run for
re-election to the Senate in 2006 and serve one more
six-year term. She has been considering the governor's
race, but White House insiders believe her Senate
schedule is too packed to allow her enough time to
"Also, GOP strategists believe her pro-choice position
on abortion will mute conservative support."
Former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, D-Houston, defeated for
re-election after congressional redistricting, is
gearing up to seek the governorship, the magazine
said, as is Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn,
she indicated at the Odessa College commencement last
Hutchison campaign manager Terry Sullivan of Austin
said the senator won't announce her decision until
sometime this summer -- after the state legislative
session ends. "She will make her decision based on
what's best for Texas," said Sullivan.
Attributing the report's circulation to the Perry
campaign, Sullivan said, "Sen. Hutchison has been a
party activist for decades, pre-Ronald Reagan back in
the 1970s. She feels very dedicated to Texas and the
"She's focused on doing her job, serving Texas in the
U.S. Senate. He (Perry) really needs to be focused on
doing his. There are a lot of critical issues before
them this session."
Hutchison has expressed a desire to return home to
raise her young son and daughter, the Houston
Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Midland oilman Clayton Williams, who said last month
he strongly would support Perry if Hutchison opposed
him, called the report "really good news for us
Republicans" if true. "I'm delighted she will stay in
Washington, where she has done a great job," said
Referring to a Wednesday statement by Senate Majority
Whip Mitch McConnell that Hutchison probably will be
offered the Senate's No. 3 position next year,
Williams said, "That just shows why it's important for
her to stay.
"She has developed seniority and respect and is a
great asset to our party and our state. That was
(Democrat) Lloyd Bentsen's seat, and we finally got
two Republicans. It's very satisfying to me and Ernie
Angelo and all of us who worked to build our party.
"We don't need to have Republicans fighting each
other. That's destructive to all the years we put into
McConnell, from Kentucky, said Hutchison will be
offered the Senate Republican Conference chair when
Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee retires.
Angelo, a Midland petroleum engineer and former
Republican national committeeman, said he also would
back Perry over Hutchison if it came to that. "Rick
Perry has been an excellent governor in all respects
and deserves an opportunity to be re-elected without a
primary," said Angelo.
Crediting Perry for a key role in congressional
redistricting that created the 11th District now
represented by Midlander Mike Conaway, Angelo said a
gubernatorial primary with Perry and Hutchison not
only would be fractitious, it would be extremely
expensive. "She has been an excellent senator, is in a
position of leadership and has an opportunity to be
even higher in the leadership ranks," he said.
"It would cost a huge amount of money that could be
much better spent in other places. I have been quite
concerned about it, but I've been coming to the
hopeful conclusion she wasn't going to run for
governor. I think she has reviewed it and come to the
same conclusion many of us have, that it's not the
right thing for her to do."