Spectre of party-flipping in Texas?


One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington is the desire of Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to run for governor of her state in 2010. It would mean ousting current Gov. Rick Perry (R) in a primary (which many seem to think she could pull off).

But, suggests blogger Paul Burka, she could follow the example of Arlen Specter (R- make that D-PA), cross over the aisle and just take on Perry in the general election. This prospect is actually considered highly unlikely, even by its proponent.

However, it does add plausibility to another scenario.

Some think Hutchison has been soldiering on in the Senate in a display of duty to her party. It avoids putting the seat up for grabs in one of those anything-goes special elections with low voter turnouts and unpredictable results. A Democrat could win, even in Texas, under those conditions. And that could give the Dems the bullet-proof majority they would need to turn back a Republican filibuster.

But if Al Franken (D-MN) is finally admitted to the Senate, and after Specter’s switch, the Democrats are already there. That leaves less reason for Hutchison to hang around Washington, and she just might head back to Texas to focus on a gubernatorial campaign.

Hutchison is currently ranking member of the key Senate Commerce Committee.