Sen. Hutchison Not Running in 2012
Update at 1:30 pm: Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune, KUT's political reporting partner, reports that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst told him, "I'm really focused right now on this session. I've got my plate full." Dewhurst said he will talk about his political plans after the session.
Earlier: Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced this morning that she will not seek another term in the Senate in 2012, according to a press aide to the senator.
Hutchison, who lost the GOP gubernatorial nomination to incumbent Rick Perry last spring, has been in the Senate since 1993, when she was elected to fill out the unexpired term of Lloyd Bentsen. She won the first of three full terms on Capitol Hill the next year.
In an open letter to constituents, the senator wrote:
When my current term is up, I will have served Texas for 19 years in the United States Senate. I intended to leave this office long before now, but I was persuaded to continue in order to avoid disadvantage to our state. The last two years have been particularly difficult, especially for my family, but I felt it would be wrong to leave the Senate during such a critical period. Instead of putting my seat into a special election, I felt it was my duty to use my experience to fight the massive spending that has increased our national debt; the government takeover of the our health care system; and the growth of the federal bureaucracy, which threatens our economy. I will continue that fight until the end of my term in 2012.
The announcement is likely to set off a shuffle among Texas Republican leaders, some of whom are already jockeying for position to succeed Hutchison. Names that have been mentioned in the past as possible GOP senate candidates include Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Railroad Commissioners Michael Williams and Elizabeth Ames-Jones.