Even by Texas standards this is odd. Is Kay trying to prove she’s even wackier than Governor Perry? Was she expecting marquis of Queensbury rules during the election? Perhaps she’s an “It’s-My-turn-Now” Country Club Republican? Or is she completely out of touch and not worthy of our time?
AUSTIN — U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s message today was as simple as it was confusing: If Gov. Rick Perry doesn’t quit his re-election race to give me a free run at the Republican gubernatorial nomination, I’ll quit the Senate to run against him.
In just a matter of hours, Hutchison told a Dallas radio station in a telephone interview that she planned to quit her Senate seat in October or November to challenge Perry. But then several hours later she told reporters in Washington that her statements had been misunderstood and what she really wanted was for Perry to get out of the race.
“Nobody expected [Perry] to run for 15 years, and I think there’s a chance that he wouldn’t run because he would see how divisive it is and that he’s trying to stay too long and that he can really help in many ways if he doesn’t run, in which case I could then be able to stay in the Senate all the way to the end,” Hutchison said, according to Congressional Quarterly.
It’s amazing – this sounds like an explanation cobbled together and yelled at full speed by a six-year-old who just broke the lamp in the living room and trying to blame her little brother for the crime.
Hutchison said her preference would be to stay in the Senate through next year’s election but that would be hard to do if she has to have a primary fight with Perry.
“I was really trying to say to him he could step back here, and he’s really trying to hang on too long and maybe he’ll rethink,” she said.
Her campaign put out a statement saying, “Rick Perry should do the right thing and stop his quest to be governor for life.”
Perry spokesman Mark Miner said the governor is doing nothing but running for re-election. As lieutenant governor, Perry became governor in December of 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become president, and then Perry won election to the office in 2002 and 2006.
“It looks like the campaign is trying to clean up another botched interview by the senator,” Miner said. “He’s running for re-election, and he’s the only candidate in the race.”
Hutchison has been hinting at a possible resign-to-run scenario since last year, but this is the first time she has set a time frame for leaving the Senate seat. Her resignation would give Perry the opportunity to appoint an interim senator who would then face a special election for the remainder of her term of office through 2012.
Hutchison told host WBAP host Mark Davis her formal announcement for governor will occur next month. “Well I’m going to announce in August. Formal announcement: I am in. Then the actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime — October, November — in that time frame,” she said.
Maybe. That’s a solid maybe. Sort of. She may yet change her mind.
Hutchison’s resignation prediction is likely to open a floodgate politically. There already is a crowd of politicians looking at running for Hutchison’s Senate seat, including Houston Mayor Bill White and former Comptroller John Sharp as Democrats, and among the Republicans there are Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones, Michael Williams, state Sen. Florence Shapiro and former Secretary of State Roger Williams.
But if Perry names Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as Hutchison’s interim replacement, that also likely opens up the attorney general’s office as incumbent Greg Abbott is expected to run for lieutenant governor if the office is vacant.
Sound like someone’s been chumming the waters. The sharks are already out. And NOTE to Kay Bailey Hutchison — just because no Governor in Texas history has been able to win more than two terms doesn’t mean there’s some kind of Gentlemen’s agreementthat no Governor should serve more than two terms.
It’s not “your turn”, Kay. You want the Governorship? Resign, and fight for it. Fight the Governor of the state best-situated politically to weather the recession. Fight the Governor who minimized the recovery time for Katrina and Ike. Fight the Governor who walks the walk and fights the good fight with the Tea parties.
Good luck with that.