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TX-Senate: Hutchison To Resign in the Fall



Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's resignation sets off a special election in Texas. Photo by Matt Slocum -- AP

Update, 3:35 p.m.: A source close to Perry predicts the special election will be held before May, noting that the governor has the sole authority to decide when the race will be run and believes the state needs a full time senator sooner rather than later. Developing....

Original Post

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R-Texas) announcement that she will resign her seat this fall sets off a rare Senate special election next spring.

"The actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime -- October, November -- that, in that time frame," Hutchison told Mark Davis, a conservative talk radio host in Dallas, this morning.

Hutchison had long been expected to resign from the Senate to focus full time on her challenge to Gov. Rick Perry (R) in next March's primary although some national Republicans held out hope that she might stay in the Senate. (She doesn't have to resign to run thanks to Fix Political Hall of Fame member Lyndon Baines Johnson.)

When Hutchison makes her resignation official, Perry could -- and Republicans observers believe will -- appoint a successor for the few months before what is expected to be a May primary to coincide with already scheduled municipal elections. (Predicting who Perry might pick is a fool's errand given that the choice will be so freighted with calculations about his gubernatorial fight against Hutchison.)

Regardless of who Perry picks, Republican strategists see the strength of their field as Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Attorney General Greg Abbott. There is a sense in Texas Republican circles that both men won't run, choosing instead to work it out between them.

Dewhurst, on paper, would be the preferred candidate given that he has not only been elected statewide but also has immense personal wealth that he could spend on a bid. But, Abbott is a well known and well liked figure among the conservative base, which could help with turnout -- always an issue in special elections.

Other names mentioned on the Republican side include former Secretary of State Roger Williams, Railroad Commissioners Michael Williams and Elizabeth Ames Jones and state Sen. Florence Shapiro.

Corbin Casteel, campaign manager for Michael Williams bid, released a statement today pledging that his candidate "is ready to run and ready to win".

The Democratic fight is between former state Comptroller John Sharp, who has twice run for and lost bids for lieutenant governor, and Houston Mayor Bill White.

National strategists regard White as the (slightly) stronger of the two candidates given his name ID in the expensive Houston media market and what they believe to be a non-partisan profile statewide. Both White ($3.3 million on hand) and Sharp ($2.9 million on hand) have been actively raising money for the race for months.

While the dynamics of special elections are notoriously unpredictable, Democrats have to be considered long-shots to win the seat for two reasons.

First, Texas is reliably Republican territory; John McCain carried the Lone Star State with 55.5 percent of the vote in 2008 and the last time Democrats won a major statewide race was in 1990 when Ann Richards was elected governor.

Second, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) will do absolutely everything in his power to keep a seat in his home state under Republican control -- spending whatever it takes to ensure a GOP victory.

The spending question is actually the one to watch. Republicans must now defend six open seats in 2010 and the Texas special has the potential to drain their coffers just over six months before the midterms.

If national Republicans have to spend $5 million or more to hold the Texas seat, it should be considered a victory of sorts for Democrats. That much money to hold a reliably Republican seat means that those millions won't be spent on playing offense in places like Illinois, Connecticut, Nevada and Colorado.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 29, 2009; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

Hutchinson will be the next governor of Texas. If McCain would have been smart he would have selected her as his VP. Republicans also will pick up seats in the Congress next year, especially as Obama rating drop, drop, drop.

Posted by: Watchdog10 | July 30, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Hutchinson will be the next governor of Texas. If McCain would have been smart he would have selected her as his VP. Republicans also will pick up seats in the Congress next year, especially as Obama rating drop, drop, drop.

Posted by: Watchdog10 | July 30, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Hutchinson will be the next governor of Texas. If McCain would have been smart he would have selected her as his VP. Republicans also will pick up seats in the Congress next year, especially as Obama rating drop, drop, drop.

Posted by: Watchdog10 | July 30, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

And another think,Doug: how come male politicians (and Justices) think they are never too old or too infirm to retire? There are many more examples of this phenomenon then the one of female politicians resigning one post to run for another post.

It is easy to think there is a right way and a wrong way (sex, race, politics, money, parenting) and that we ALL agree on what they are.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 30, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Doug, I'm a Democrat and you're going to make me defend Sister Sarah and Kay Bailey?

Maybe you need to turn your equation around and ask yourself what is it about men that makes them think they can fully accomplish one demanding elected office while actively raising money and pursuing a more exalted public office? Ego? Greed? Inflated self-image? A willingness to let the already achieved position dangle while they chase the next prize? Just asking.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 30, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/Police%20report%20on%20Gates%20arrest.PDF

OFFICER CROWLEY’S ARRESTING POLICE REPORT ABOVE…CLICK FOR YOURSELF.

UH OHH OFFICER CROWLEY… WHY IN YOU’RE POLICE REPORT… YOU REPORTED THAT THE 911 CALLER ‘LUCIA WHALEN’, AT THE SCENE DESCRIBED TO YOU THAT THERE WERE TWO BLACK MEN WITH BACKPACKS?

CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TYPO IN YOU’RE POLICE REPORT, SIR?

IS THIS THE CAUSE OF THE RACE CARD BEING PLAYED?

Posted by: opp88 | July 29, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

it would be a plum for the democrats to capture that seat,this would really send the republicans reeling for years.however with the conservative base in texas this would be difficult to surmount considering a good percentage of hispanic/latino tend to support republican causes.in return both cornyn and hutchison votes against all measures that benefits minorities.cornyn just voted against sotomayor the first latino nominated for the supreme court on the house judiciary committee,yet the state of texas has a huge latino/hispanic population.hispanics can play an important role in displacing a republican senator in texas,will they take advantage,it's doubtful.

Posted by: ronaldtennillegeorgia1 | July 29, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

OK feminists, please let me know the last man who quit elected office seeking higher office without a job offer?

I am not impressed by women who find a job so challenging that they must quit it, in order to seek higher office.

Sorry.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | July 29, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Had McCain chosen KBH for his veepmate, he might be POTUS today, as opposed to picking the dimwit he chose.

Posted by: meldupree | July 29, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

So, Texans, is this a pride issue or does she hate Gov. Goodhair? Cause if KBH really just wanted to raise her kids in Texas she could do that without being Governor: her pensions are good, her husband is well employed I hear, and she is 66 years old.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 29, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Texas...nothing good has ever come from this state.Give it back to the mexicans!!

Posted by: hyroller56 | July 29, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

personally I hope that KBH is booed and has a sign brigade trailing her when she tries to campaign in the Valley in 2010. Texas voters should not be allowed to forget her snubbing of Sotomeyer and she should be hounded for that, especially the way she railed agaisnt D Senators who refused to stand in allegiance for Alito's confirmation.

Posted by: leichtman | July 29, 2009 7:29 PM
_________
May I cosign that? KBH is just as extreme as Palin, Bachmann, and GOP leader Audra Shay but she keeps a low profile in the national press so people don't know about her. Let's hope the word gets around, especially about her Sonia snub.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

If she run for president on Bush's legacy, Obama will crunch her.

Posted by: demtse | July 29, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

During my brief residence in Texas (1983-85), I discovered, on voting 8 times in 2 years, that no issue is too small to vote on - and if it's worth voting on, it's worth slinging mud at! What I loved, at least in those days, was that he (or she) who could get the best laugh through the mud storm won. Then came Bush, Rove, Delay,... No humor at all :( I miss Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower ("the only thing in the middle of the road in Texas is dead armadilla's"). Good luck Texas -- the twenty-first century is only a Shiner and a belly laugh away!

Posted by: fr3dmars | July 29, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

personally I hope that KBH is booed and has a sign brigade trailing her when she tries to campaign in the Valley in 2010. Texas voters should not be allowed to forget her snubbing of Sotomeyer and she should be hounded for that, especially the way she railed agaisnt D Senators who refused to stand in allegiance for Alito's confirmation.

Posted by: leichtman | July 29, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

" by the time the election rolls around any Dem will beat Perry or KBH.........."


sorry but that is utter nonsense. As much as I wish it were true, at best the token D candidate for Governor will at best garner 40-45% of the vote, with a well run campaign, as much as we are sick to death of Perry. The latest idiotic statement from him is that he will invoke the 10th amendment if healthcare is passed. Perhaps that might be grounds for impeachment, but not from our toddies in the state legislature, regardless of his reckless behavior.

Posted by: leichtman | July 29, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

For those on this blog praising KBH you must not live in Texas. She has done nothing for this state. She is delusional if she thinks she will be Governor. The Dems have no front runner at this time but by the time the election rolls around any Dem will beat Perry or KBH..........

Posted by: rharring | July 29, 2009 6:58 PM
_______________
KBH is at the extreme right end of the GOP (where Rush, Hannity, and Hal Turner live). She doesn't get a lot of MSM coverage like Palin or Audra Shay so her world view is not well known. I would think a standard-issue Dem who's well-liked would win handily in TX against her, especially in the wake of the GOP Sonia bashing. KBH did not have one kind word for Judge Sonia during the vicious assault on our "wisest Latina."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 29, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Perry should appoint himself to the Senate, thereby avoiding his certain loss to Sen. Hutchison. They just exchange jobs.

Posted by: netgotham1 | July 29, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

For those on this blog praising KBH you must not live in Texas. She has done nothing for this state. She is delusional if she thinks she will be Governor. The Dems have no front runner at this time but by the time the election rolls around any Dem will beat Perry or KBH..........

Posted by: rharring | July 29, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Senator Hutchinson. If John McCain had used any political brains during his election bid, he would have chosen her as his VP choice. The trouble is she is smarter than he is, Palin is more his style.

Posted by: nelsonjackson1 | July 29, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"Are you up on the highland lakes now?"
no waiting for healthcare to retire. our lakeway 620 home is leased till next summer.
Ds in Texas need to spend at leat $1 million or more for Hispanic GOTV if they are ever going to turn things around.
Kinky will probably run again don't see anyone else out there other than a Dino in Dallas who was a W Pioneer. No way will I support him.

Posted by: leichtman | July 29, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Mark - I am busy doing tax analysis for a client's divorce so I and not cannot get into this as much as I would like. It would be great if Sharp and White would flip coins like Abbot and Dewhurst will.

Posted by: bradcpa | July 29, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

leichtman, thanx for the reminders. Are you up on the highland lakes now?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 29, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter who's senator in Texas. I was once at a party here in New Mexico and I commented to a ex-patriot Texan that I had read that there are actually more New Mexicans moving to Texas than Texans moving to New Mexico and Texan commented immediately and without a second thought: Good, it will raise the average IQ in both states.

Posted by: jjedif | July 29, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

marc in austin:
my money is on Abbott. He fits the mold of Perry's right wing credentials and is an ugly campaigner.
I lost faith in Sharp after he lost a 10% point lead over Perry for Governor when he was blindsided with ugly campaign tricks in the valley. What would be interesting is how Hutchinson would react after giving up her Senate seat if she then loses the March primary to Perry.
White is dull,and may not be widely known outside of Houston. Last time we ran a mayor, Kirk, it was a disaster, but White is much more savy a campaigner, has mega bucks in contributions and the Houston business community in his corner.
I expect a White-Abbott race to get really ugly but White's calm demeanor might actually be a plus in a close race.

Posted by: leichtman | July 29, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama resigned his Senate seat AFTER he was elected.

Bob Dole resigned his Senate seat once he had the GOP Prez nomination.

KBH is planning to resign so she can run for governor of Texas.

That other woman quit so she could--what? Write a book? Because she knew she couldn't get re-elected, but if she said she wasn't running she'd be a lame duck, and that would be-gasp- boring??

Posted by: mikeinmidland | July 29, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Is quiting before your term is up, a woman thing?"

Not at all. Senator Barack Obama quit his only term in the Senate early.

Posted by: AnotherContrarian | July 29, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

If we are talking about the TX D Senate race, we see that Bill White is the leader before the race is run - but he is dull as an old penny. The smart money seems to be on White, but I think Sharp would be much tougher for an R to beat. Both White and Sharp are pragmatic and moderately conservative Ds and both have been effective public officials. I am only comparing personalities. If you go the "Texas Monthly" website you can watch Evan Smith's interviews with each. I promise White will put you to sleep.

Abbott would be a better campaigner than the LG on the R side. But Dewhurst has the bucks. Abbott is not poor, however, and he also has friends. Michael Williams, the RR Commish, is in on the R side. I have not heard whether Florence Schapiro is definitely in, but I think she is leaning that way.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 29, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/005514.html

It is a report from the census bureau.

Follow this link to learn when Texas became over 50% minorities.

Posted by: Heerman532 | July 29, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The ideal solution would be for Gov Perry to appoint Bush 41 to fill the remainder of KBHs term and give everybody a equal footing for 2010. Pappy Bush is well liked and respected by both TX dems and republicans.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 29, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Noriega (D), an unknown veteran, lost to 'Cornhole' Cornyn 43% to 55% in 2008. Prior to 08 the republicans swept statewide elections 60/40 every time. They were even able to eliminate a half dozen Democratic house seats in the totally bogus 2005 "midterm" re-gerrymandering.

People in Texas are sick of this crap.

A couple Texas appearances by President Obama and some solid ACORN work will put the next election in the 'D' column for sure!

Posted by: Heerman532 | July 29, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Texas will elect a democratic senator; you heard it her first. and a democratic governore as well. Americans and smart Texans are sick unto death of the gop

Posted by: joelpalmer | July 29, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Chris writes "Democrats have to be considered long-shots to win the seat for two reasons." WHOA! Chris is writing yet another article proclaiming bad news for Democrats. That's original.

Chris, you have failed. Once again your column about campaigns is becoming infused with opinion as you seek to create a narrative. Everyone can see a common theme in your Fix columns over the last few months: "the Republicans are coming back!" I'm still waiting to see you publish a column spinning Mark Sanford's sex scandal as bad for Democrats.

Hey Chris, when is your next column about upcoming Republican leaders? When will you publish your next column about future Republican presidential contenders? It's been a week now, so you're overdo.

Posted by: fable104 | July 29, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Another news flash; Texas is no longer as much of an a55-backward state as it used to be.

KBH is just another over ambitious, republican quitter.

Look at the fundraising; KBH gets loads of cash from the lawyers like her husband. They get rich by supported the elected judges (no joke) and the good-ole-boy network of corruption. Texas will make New Jersey look downright respectable when they finally get to the bottom of it.

The mere mention of Florence Shapiro is a massive joke! She voted on the side of 'big bidness' to keep school taxes firmly on top of the homeowners. Her husband is a lawyer notorious for extracting payments for things like falling out of golf carts while he's drunk. (like I said, Texas isn't QUITE as a55-backward as it used to be. Of course it is STILL a55-backward).

Posted by: Heerman532 | July 29, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Is quiting before your term is up, a woman thing?

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 29, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I've met Bill White. I like Bill White. He's a decent guy who, by most accounts, has done a pretty good job as mayor.

As a Democrat, I probably shouldn't mention this, but he was the state party chair when the Republicans swept every statewide office back in '98.

Hopefully, he'll have a better game plan next time around.

Posted by: TheProFromDover | July 29, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Republican confidence is misplaced in Texas.

The state is now 51% minorities. Most of those are mexicans.

Bush won Texas by a huge margin - about 60/40. Magoo won it by 55/45. The writing is on the wall. Soon Texas will be firmly Democratic territory. Then, anchored by New York and California, national elections will all be lopsided.

Get used to it!

Posted by: Heerman532 | July 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

rharring, I apologize for missing your post while referring to my fellow Texans Brad and Bobby. Which D do you think can beat KBH? Do you think that I am correct about Leticia? Do you think Tom Schieffer stirs the imagination of any Ds?

If you think that Goodhair is going to beat KBH in the primary I would agree that the Ds have a chance with a less than stellar nominee. But I think it will take nothing less than a well known and accomplished chicana to beat KBH.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 29, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Perry and and this senator are going to turn Texas to a blue state..Their comments regarding judge Sotomayor and the senator's upcoming vote on her confirmation to the US Supreme Court among the hispanic populace in Texas will get them out of the public sanction employment regarding top politics of this state.

Posted by: sabestu | July 29, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Andy, Perry wants to remain as gov.

KBH has wanted out of the Senate and would have run for gov in '06 if Goodhair had not been adamant about running then. KBH has adopted two children since her 57th birthday and Ray H. is still practicing municipal bond law in TX. She wants her kids in school in Austin, not in DC.

Her NRA vote against SS shows that she is worried about the R base in the primary, but not the Ds in the GE. As BradCPA and Bobby CW have noted, there is room there for a D. But so far, only Tom Schieffer is interested. If that remains the case KBH will whip Goodhair in the primary because our primaries are open and Goodhair is a low approval gov.

http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist26/dist26.htm

Leticia is the person best placed to run for Gov.[IMHO - Brad? Bobby?]for the Ds but she will not.

Rumors say former Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle may jump in against Schieffer.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 29, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Chris - The Texas AG (Abbott) is elected statewide, but you are right he is not wealthy.

Posted by: bradcpa | July 29, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Remember Sotomayor!" will be the yell down here in Texas to power a voter registration drive in the Hispanic community. John Cornyn's racist comments at the Senate Judicial committee are going to get a big response. Texas is 45% minority who will vote 90-% Democratic so it only takes 20% of the white vote to elect a Democrat. The only problem in 2008 was that the Hispanic voter registration drives really did not take hold like they did in Colorado and California.. You can look to that changing over the next year. Look to see more of John Cornyn and Rick Perry on TV than who ever the Republicans run for Senate. This will move up the date that the big red state of Texas turns to big blue of the Democrats.

Posted by: bradcpa | July 29, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Yay, the wicked Republican witch from Texas is leaving the Senate. She's a quitter, just like Sarah Palin. Good riddance to them both.

Posted by: dsrobins | July 29, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

All of these political calculations are interesting considering Perry was angling to secede from the Union just three months ago. I guess he's decided to stick it out as an American. What a patriot!!!

Posted by: SWB2 | July 29, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Secede Texass and Kay can be your queen.

Posted by: whocares666 | July 29, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Anyone think Perry will appoint himself to that Senate seat?

Posted by: reason5 | July 29, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, she is *that* upset with Perry. Then again, so are a lot of Texans. He has both the hair and the attitude to become the Replublicans Rod Blagojevich.

If I had benn John McCain and I wanted a woman on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee, I'd have picked KBH. She's a solid performer and will likely take out Perry in the Republican gubernatorial primary and win the general election handily.

I think Democrats might do better in the special election that CC thinks, though it will ultimately depend on who turns out to vote.

Posted by: Gallenod | July 29, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Why? Because although her Senate experience is solid, she would benefit from some executive experience before running for President.

Plus, it's more fun to run a state than to be in the minority in the Senate.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | July 29, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

rharring writes
"Problem is neither of these two will be our next governor"

Who will? I understand the Dems don't have a candidate yet. Is that Friedman fellow running this year?

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 29, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Andyr3,

As a Texan i can tell you why. It gives her more time to sling mud on Perry. Problem is neither of these two will be our next governor

Posted by: rharring | July 29, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

What if Perry chooses himself to take Hutchinson's place? Mark, is that even possible?

I don't really understand why she would do this. She has a solid senate seat that she barely has to defend, but maybe she is that upset with Perry.

Posted by: AndyR3 | July 29, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

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