Hutchison to stay in Senate as she runs in Texas

By Ben Pershing
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) plans to announce Saturday that she will remain in the Senate for at least a few more months while she continues campaigning to become Texas governor, sources familiar with her plans said Friday.

Hutchison had said in July that she would leave the Senate this fall to focus solely on her campaign against Gov. Rick Perry (R), but she then became increasingly vague about the timing of her move. Hutchison's term does not expire until 2012, and Texas law does not require her to resign her Senate seat while running for state office.

In her statement, Hutchison is expected to say that she is committed to staying in the Senate into the spring. The Republican primary for governor is in March.

"I realize this will keep me in the Senate past the primary election," Hutchison will say in a speech Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Fighting Democratic bills on climate change and health care is "too important to leave the fight to a newly appointed freshman senator who will be selected in the midst of a political storm."

Her change of heart keeps open the possibility of Hutchison staying in the Senate if she loses the primary. Polls have indicated that Hutchison trails Perry.

Hutchison's decision also denies Perry the opportunity to appoint a temporary replacement to fill her seat before the primary contest. And it gives the National Republican Senatorial Committee more time to recruit a candidate for a special election.

Hutchison will say Saturday that she plans to quit the seat at some point in 2010, according to the AP. "I will be resigning this Senate seat," Hutchison says in the speech. "For all of the good Republicans out there who plan on running for my Senate seat next year, make no mistake, this is going to happen."

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