In The Texas Elections, It’ll Be Perry Against Kay Bailey Hutchison
It’s official. Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will indeed run against Rick Perry for the governorship in the state of Texas in 2010. But the fight may become quite nasty.
Perry is the longest serving Governor in Texas with nine years of governorship under his belt. He assumed office in 2000, after George W. Bush was sworn in as President. And, since Texas has no term limits for governors, Perry has been poised to run for a third four-year term.
But things haven’t been easy for the staunch conservative who has been criticized for cheering the state’s death penalty, and for his anti-abortion and anti-gay stances. Perry has had stiff competition at every election — in 2002, against Democrat Tony Sanchez, and in 2006 against three popular independents. Now, with the notorious Kay Bailey Hutchinson in the ring, Perry will have to fight tooth and nail to stay in office.
Hutchinson, a Dallas native, was the first female in Texas to be elected to the Senate in 1993. She has been a conservative in every sense of the word, and like Perry, she opposes abortion and supports gun rights wholeheartedly. She also voted against the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor and against President Obama’s stimulus.
Such staunch conservatism has earned the 66-year-old superstar status in the Republican Party and she was even considered as a running mate for John McCain before former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin was picked.
But despite Hutchinson’s conservative record, fundamentalist Christians seem to prefer Perry over the popular Senator. And, this is where Perry may get an upper hand in the state’s GOP primary.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Hutchinson’s bipartisan moments may serve as ammunition for the ambitious governor:
Perry, a self-styled fiscal hawk, is likely to paint Hutchison as a big spender who is too moderate on social issues and too willing to collaborate with Democrats.
But there could be a turning point for Texas in 2010 as the state’s minorities continue to increase and vote Democrat. With some good planning and strategizing, Democrats could gain ground early on in the primaries as the two Republicans, Perry and Hutchinson fight each other to the ground.
Yet, the state’s powerful oil and gas lobby may again keep the state from going blue. Hutchinson is after all one of the biggest recipients of contributions from the oil and gas industry in the Senate. There is no doubt her wealthy friends will come out of the woodwork to support her. And, if Perry is the one coming ahead, he would have energized his Christian base enough to combat his Democrat rival.
We would have to wait and see if the Obama administration can show some muscle and help turn the tie in biggest state of the union as the 2010 elections approach. If Texas goes blue, there is no telling what other surprises may lay ahead for Democrats in this country.