Kay Bailey Hutchison had announced her intention to retire from the US Senate regardless of the outcome of her attempt to win the Republican Texas gubernatorial contest. She lost that battle to incumbent Rick Perry, and now has decided to remain in the Senate through 2012, when her term expires.
Hutchison is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Transportation and Science, which is the go-to committee for most broadcast and other communications issues.
Hutchison was originally going to retire sometime in late 2009 to concentrate on her gubernatorial campaign, and then moved the date back to sometime after the primary. That was 3/2/10. She was defeated convincingly by Perry, who was not unpopular and was aided by anti-Washington sentiment.
Many polls had suggested that a strong percentage of Texas Republican voters were happy having Perry as Governor and Hutchison as Senator. That group is now getting its wish, at least until 2012 (and assuming Perry wins the general election).
The losers are the candidates who have been working toward running in a special election for the Texas senate seat. They will now have to wait two more years for the seat to open. So will broadcasters looking to sell some Senate-seat ads.
RBR-TVBR observation: Interesting – some say that by staying she is unselfishly protecting the seat for her party, since special elections are far more volatile than those that are regularly scheduled. Others say she is selfishly preventing new blood from getting established in the seat before 2012, when Obama may have reclaimed some of his headwind. In politics, so it goes.
As far as it goes, we have to believe that this seat will be a safe Republican hold, either year.