The Kentucky congressional delegation in 1993 could face an identity crisis unknown in the annals of Capitol Hill.
Carol Hubbard, the wife of Rep. Carroll Hubbard Jr. (D), has announced she is planning to challenge another member of the delegation, Rep. Carl C. Perkins (D), in the 1992 primary.
Should she and her husband both win seats, they would form the first husband-wife team from the same state in the history of Congress, officials said. There have been simultaneously serving couples from separate states.
Carol Hubbard, a former schoolteacher who now works in the benefits department of a computer firm, said she will reestablish residence in the eastern Kentucky 7th District where she was raised and which Perkins has represented since 1984. Her husband has represented the 1st District, made up of the state's westernmost counties, since 1974.
Perkins, 36, virtually inherited his House seat after the death of his father, Carl D. Perkins, who had held the post for 35 years and had risen to the chairmanship of the Education and Labor Committee, where he sponsored anti-poverty programs and channeled funds into his poor coal-mining district.
The younger Perkins, known as Chris, has not established a similar reputation in Congress or a similar hold on the district. He was reelected this month with only about 51 percent of the vote.
Carol Hubbard, a former Miss Kentucky, said she is running because "eastern Kentucky hasn't had good representation since 1984. Chris Perkins isn't the man his father was, and I think my old neighbors in eastern Kentucky deserve the same quality representation as the other six congressional districts."
She has never held public office but said she worked for two years in her husband's office, campaigned with him "and helped him do his job."
Perkins, who said he was surprised that his colleague's wife is running against him, said, "I'll do everything I can to keep things civil" during the next two years when he will be serving with Carroll Hubbard and preparing for a challenge from Carol Hubbard. He blamed his low reelection vote on the unpopularity of a state tax increase and a "negative radio campaign we didn't answer for too long."
Several observers said Perkins's close call Nov. 6 could well attract primary opposition from other Democrats, as well as another strong Republican challenge, but most of them did not dismiss the possibility of Carol Hubbard's making a serious run for the job.
And if she should win? "Well," she said, "I guess Carroll and I could drive to work together and home at the end of the day. Weekends, he'd go west and I'd go east. But I think there could be a lot of useful joint ventures between our districts."