By Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) will resign her seat this fall to focus on challenging Texas's incumbent Republican governor, Rick Perry.
"The actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime -- October, November -- that, in that time frame," Hutchison told Mark Davis, a conservative radio host in Dallas, on Wednesday morning. The gubernatorial primary will be in March 2010.
When Hutchison, first elected to the Senate in 1993, makes her resignation official, Perry will be able to appoint her successor, who would take office once Hutchison steps down and would face reelection next year. GOP strategists see the strongest potential candidates for the seat as Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Attorney General Greg Abbott.
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.
The leading Democratic contenders for the seat are former state Comptroller John Sharp, who has twice run for and lost bids for lieutenant governor, and Houston Mayor Bill White. Both men already have millions of dollars in reserve for the race.
Texas is reliably Republican territory. John McCain carried the Lone Star State with 55 percent of the presidential vote in 2008, and the last time Democrats won a major statewide race there was in 1990, when Ann Richards was elected governor.