Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has abandoned her earlier plan to exit the Senate before year’s end in her pursuit of the governorship of Texas. Instead, she will keep her seat there at least until the end of the TX gubernatorial primary.
However, she is not doing it to keep an employment option in place should she lose the primary to opponent and incumbent TX Governor Rick Perry. She said with Congress in the midst of protracted and complex battles over health care and energy policy, now is the wrong time to send someone into the Senate cold to represent her state.
However, she assured Texas Republicans who have been thinking about becoming her successor to keep working on their plans – she said her move in no way changes her plans to exit the Senate, and that she will do so whether or not she prevails over Perry.
Hutchison is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. One of her current projects in that role of late has been attempting to keep FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s plans for network neutrality reined in as much as possible.
RBR-TVBR observation: Texas Republicans currently give an 11% edge to Perry in the primary race, but polls also show that both candidates are popular among GOP voters. The polls suggest that these voters wouldn’t mind coming out of 2010 with an intact status quo; that is, Perry as Governor and Hutchison as Senator.
We suppose Hutchison could change her mind, but if she really wants to leave the option of remaining in the Senate open, we suspect she must stop underlining her plans to exit.
There is one compelling non-political motivation for Hutchison to return to Texas. Back in October, a “sold” sign appeared in front of her suburban Virginia home.