The Fix on our senior Senator and her next electoral challenge.
Hutchison, who previously broke a term-limit pledge when she ran for reelection in 2006, had been saying since 2007 that she would not seek another term in the Senate. Everyone now agrees that no longer applies, and many expect her to run again.
When contacted by The Fix about her decision-making process, a Hutchison spokeswoman said only that “the senator has not yet announced her plans.”
But that doesn’t mean people are waiting around to see what she does.
State Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones and former Secretary of State Roger Williams are both actively campaigning for the seat, and several other candidates are threatening to run regardless of Hutchison’s announcement.
Among the undecideds are a number of well-known candidates, including wealthy Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and, potentially, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.
Dewhurst would be formidable because he would instantly be financially competitive due to his personal wealth and already has a cultivated statewide profile (he was just elected to his third term as lieutenant governor with 63 percent of the vote). He also has the luxury of taking his time to make a decision because of his high name identification and money.
At the same time, he’s not regarded as a great candidate, and because he is part of the establishment, he wouldn’t bring the tea party, insurgent-type profile that was so successful in the 2010 Senate primary season.
The candidate that fits that bill the best would appear to be Michael Williams. But Williams, like other tea party candidates, could face a funding problem, which is even more deadly in such a big state.
1. Dan Patrick. I don’t see how this doesn’t happen.
2. Michael Williams has been in statewide office nearly as long as Dewhurst has, having been appointed to fill out the unexpired Railroad Commissioner term of Carole Keeton then-Rylander in 1999, and winning her unexpired term in 2000. I guess if all you do in office is make rabble-rousing speeches to conservative organizations and play around with social networking you can appear to be an outsider even after a decade as part of the establishment.
3. Who knows what the political landscape will look like in 2012? All of us, myself included, who are ready to write KBH off have no way of knowing what will happen over the next year or so. The teabaggers have to govern now, which is a lot harder than lobbing spitballs from the back of the room. The kind of intensity they have now will burn out, it’s just a question of when. Circumstances may wind up being a lot more favorable to KBH in 2012 than they were this year. We just can’t know how it will play out.