Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is running into an electoral buzz saw in her bid for the job of Governor of Texas. Observers have put forth a number of explanations for her trouble. And the question remains – if the bid goes sour, which it gives every indication of doing – will she reverse gears and keep her Senate seat?
Chris Cillizza used his Washington Post political column “The Fix” to look at the situation.
Part of the problem is that Washington is very much in disfavor with voters right now, so the fact that Hutchison is coming from Washington to take on an incumbent governor who is not in any particular trouble with voters is thought to be very much a factor.
The fact that she has yet to set a date for resigning from the Senate has only exacerbated the problem.
Hutchison held off challenging incumbent Rick Perry in 2006, waiting for 2010, little expecting that he’d be running again. So a major argument coming from her camp is that it’s time for a change – but again, since Perry is not in trouble with Texas voters, that message is failing to resonate.
Her messaging in general is said to be very senatorial – wide-ranging and variable, whereas Perry pretty much sticks to a pro-Texas, anti-Washington script.
An earlier poll had Hutchison in a distant second place, with Tea Party activist Debra Medina threatening to take over second place. Medina’s support has waned, however, in more recent electoral soundings, but Hutchison still lags. Public Policy Polling’s most recent effort gives Perry 40%, Hutchison 31% and Medina 20%. Meanwhile, Rasmussen shows Perry even farther ahead, with 48% to Hutchison’s 27% and Medina’s 16%.
Hutchison is Ranking Member of the key Senate Commerce Committee.
RBR-TVBR observation: One thing is certain – the last thing Hutchison will do is announce a plan to remain in Washington in advance of the vote if her primary bid fails. That would send the worst message possible to Texas voters. The primary is scheduled for Tuesday 3/2/10. We likely won’t find out about her future plans until sometime thereafter.