Kay Bailey Hutchison set to hang up her senatorial spikes


The guessing games are over. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will not seek another term in the US Senate with her current one expires after the 2012 election cycle. She reconsidered a plan to exit the Senate to run for governor of Texas in the last cycle only to go down in the primaries to incumbent Rick Perry, and decided to complete her term. But she won’t hang around for another six years.

Hutchison is currently the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, a position she has held since the late Ted Stevens (R-AK) gave up the seat while dealing with ethics accusations.

She has been waging a spirited battle of late to prevent the FCC from putting network neutrality regulations in place.

Hutchison had promised to exit the Senate in late 2009 to begin her run against Perry. Polling wasn’t as favorable as she perhaps anticipated, and she moved her Washington exit to the end of the primary in March. After she was soundly beaten, she opted to complete her term, citing important upcoming votes as Republicans in the Senate attempted to derail the legislative agenda of President Barack Obama.

Her change of plans forced numerous would-be senatorial candidates to also change plans, since an anticipated special election to fill her seat for the last two years of its term never came to pass.

RBR-TVBR observation: This does several things: It will open up the top Republican spot in the key Senate Commerce Committee. It opens the door to a rip-snorting Texas senatorial primary on the Republican side in 2012. And it gives Democrats a fighting chance to grab the seat in the general election.