31 May 2005
KBH to announce for guv?
RedState reports that:
According to a highly placed source in U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's camp, the Senator is likely to announce her intention to run for Governor of Texas on or about June 6th.Nothing like anonymously sourced gossip! Still, it's not surprising.
We'll see if KBH's camp confirms or denies this.
(link via Byron at BOR)
30 May 2005
The DMN's editorial board's very interesting blog (no permalinks though) has started quantifying the odds that KBH will run for governor.
Right now, their Hutch-o-meter is a 91% chance that KBH will faceoff with Perry in the primary.
According to the blog, Wayne Slater says ""I don't think she's made up her mind. But from what I heard about a meeting she held earlier this week, I think she intends to run."
This was before school finance was truly dead for the regular session. So maybe they'll revise the Hutch-o-meter slightly higher.
"the domino effect"
Wayne Slater reviews the gossip over who is likely to run for what and where the chips will fall if KBH announces a primary challenge to Perry:
If Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison seeks to unseat Gov. Rick Perry in the 2006 Republican primary, she sets off a vigorous round of political musical chairs. Here's a look at some of the scrambling that could take place:
Rep. Henry Bonilla of San Antonio has staked a claim to Ms. Hutchison's seat if she vacates it. But Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is also said to covet it. A showdown looms between the Texas GOP's premier Hispanic officeholder and the towering millionaire who runs the Texas Senate.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn scotches her plans to run for governor and instead seeks the No. 2 job. But Attorney General Greg Abbott, a favorite of the party's conservatives, makes it a race.
An open attorney general's seat attracts a trio of upwardly mobile Republicans: Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (the party's highest-ranking black officeholder), Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill (a rising female star in the GOP) and Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas.
Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs runs for comptroller, the state's chief tax collector and revenue estimator. Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, a former legislator, throws his calculator in the ring.
Rep. Warren Chisum, a longtime legislator from Pampa and one of the heartiest conservatives in the Texas House, tries to move up to the Texas Railroad Commission.
Others likely to move: Two prominent legislators may run for agriculture commissioner: Sen. Todd Staples of Palestine and Rep. David Swinford of Dumas. As for land commissioner, Jerry Patterson says he's staying put.
Strayhorn's moment in the sun
The comptroller has to certify the budget under our state constitution. Let's see what Strayhorn does.
School finance is dead
The writing has been on the wall for a couple weeks, but now it's official: school finance is dead.
Perry has said that there won't be a special session.
Will Perry call a special session for school finance? It seems unlikely. Speaker Craddick doesn't seem to have shown any great enthusiasm for a school finance plan, and appears to want to wait for a Supreme Court ruling on the school finance lawsuits.
Perry really wanted a deal on school finance, of course. But if he hasn't been able to get one in the last two regular sessions or the special session...well, something would really have to change for a deal on school finance to be reached. It's a very complicated problem policy-wise, and when you add the political complications of 31 state senators, 150 representatives, and two state officeholders, it gets to be very dicey indeed. It's quite possible that a judicial ruling will be necessary for a new school finance bill.
So it seems more likely to me that we won't have a special session. Perry's already tried to reach a deal, and calling another special session that is likely to be futile will only serve to highlight their failure to get a deal.
Does this make KBH more likely to run? Everybody seems to think that the answer is yes. Seems right to me, because now she has an easy issue to run on.
29 May 2005
DMN's Rodger Jones last week was wondering when KBH last fired the .357 Magnum she says she keeps by her bed.
Since there are no permalinks on DMN's blog yet, I'll just quote here.
Also, about KBH hunting:
Paydirt! This just in from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's press aide concerning her .357 Magnum, the impetus of efforts to change Washington's gun laws:
The Senator told me the last time she fired the .357 Magnum was when she first purchased it to become acquainted with the firearm and to make sure she was comfortable with it. That gun is simply for protection, however, so when she goes hunting or skeet shooting she uses a shotgun or rifle.
It’s been a few years since Sen. Hutchison has purchased a hunting license or gone hunting – probably back in 2002. She went pheasant hunting the last time. Also, the last time she fired a gun was also a few years ago when she went skeet shooting.Maybe nothing earthshattering, but interesting.
While she loves hunting and shooting, it’s been extremely difficult since her two young children, Bailey and Houston, came into her life. But she’s looking forward to getting back out there and hunting soon again.
28 May 2005
I'm on the frontpage of KinkyFriedman.com.
I forgot to mention -- it's a rare candidate that has facial hair. Is there any chance that Kinky will ever shave?
AP on KBH
Suzanne Gamboa from the AP wire summarizes the potential office shuffling that will occur if KBH challenges Dewhurst.
In a Texas-size political chess game, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is playing the role of queen. She plans to announce this summer whether she'll try to hold her Senate seat in 2006 or challenge fellow Republican Rick Perry for Texas governor.
In the meantime, a long line of officials and political hopefuls are plotting their next moves depending on which way she jumps. I won't bother quoting any of the rest. If you read this blog, I highly doubt you'd find anything new.
But the article is further proof that this race will be big, if it happens.
26 May 2005
Out of town
I'm the best man in my roommate's wedding this weekend, so I should be out of town and unlikely to post much.
If Kay announces, I'll try to update. Otherwise, you probably won't see me until Monday.
25 May 2005
Anecdotal Kinky Thoughts
A few days ago while at Target, I saw two bumper stickers on upscale cars that both also sported Kerry Edwards bumper stickers.
It got me thinking: how seriously should we take Kinky?
My answer below the jump.
Today's Chuck Todd column
Chuck Todd writes his National Journal column (pricy subsciption required) on politicians who "aren't running in races this year and next even though it's what they'd rather be doing."
Kay Bailey Hutchison for Texas governor:
We're not 100 percent sure she's going to fit into this category. Despite all the public attempts by prominent Republicans to dissuade her from running, Hutchison may just run anyway. Republican Gov. Rick Perry isn't that popular right now -- he's popular enough to defeat a Democrat -- but he may not be able to withstand a primary challenge from someone as popular as Hutchison. Still, a primary is a divisive thing and we won't be surprised if Hutchison gets talked out of this run. Up until last week, we were convinced she would make a bid, but given Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R) comments about the leadership opportunities awaiting Hutchison in the next Senate, we're now convinced there's a concerted effort to keep her out.
22 May 2005
Filibuster, confirmation, nominations and KBH
It looks like Bill Frist has decided to attempt tomorrow to invoke cloture on Justice Priscilla Owen's nomination to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
It may follow that Frist will seek a ruling from the chair on whether judicial nominations can be filibustered (known to the right as the "constitutional option" and to the left as the "nuclear option").
It will be interesting to watch what role Hutchison and Cornyn play, since they'll likely take the lead in lauding their fellow Texan as someone worthy of the federal appellate bench.
Early weekend roundup
1. KBH has co-sponsored legislation with John Cornyn and George Allen that would lift the ban on guns in DC. Kay: "I think the law is wrong, it is unconstitutional and I think every woman in the District of Columbia should have the ability to protect herself in her home." Even Perry's campaign manager Luis Saenz agrees: "That's a great bill. We wish her well, hope she can get it through the Senate."
Rare moments of comity.
Also, we learn that Kay has a .357 caliber Magnum revolver, which she likes to keep close by when she sleeps (or at least used to).
2. Kay's regional director Jason Roth Fuller expects a gubernatorial race decision to come in June. No surprise there; they've been fairly consistent in saying that a decision would occur after the legislative session.
3. The Houston Chronicle reprints former Gov. Bill Clements editorial that appeared in the Dallas Morning News last week.
4. Perry is telling Speaker Craddick and Lt Gov Dewhurst that he won't call the Legislature back for a special session. Perry obviously wants to keep the pressure on the Legislature now.
5. Peggy Fikac has a column on Perry's take on school finance: "let the process work." It also contains an interesting quote from Perry, suggesting this is how he sees himself:
"If you are a fiscal conservative, if you are a person who can stand up and say, 'Here is how you run government effectively' ... and then you do what you say you're going to do, I think you'll be a successful governor," [Perry] said. "If, on the other hand, you go out there and run as a fiscal conservative and then come back and govern as a fiscal liberal, they'll beat ya."
20 May 2005
Hutchison responds to Clements
Hutchison's quote sounds to me like something a candidate would say.
"Look, it's very obvious that the Perry campaign is putting things out on a weekly basis to discourage me from running for governor," she said Thursday when asked about a guest column Mr. Clements wrote for The Dallas Morning News' opinion page. "I will make the decision based on what I think is the best thing I could do for Texas."
Perry campaign manager Luis Saenz said the campaign had nothing to do with the piece.
"I don't think anyone can make Governor Clements do anything," he said. "He just feels like thousands of other Republicans feel."
19 May 2005
"Senior Bush aides"
Hutchison campaign manager Terry Sullivan of Austin said the senator won't announce her decision until sometime this summer -- after the state legislative session ends. "She will make her decision based on what's best for Texas," said Sullivan.Campbell also quotes Midland locals Clayton Williams and former RNC Committeeman Ernie Angelo. Both are pleased that Kay might not run.
Attributing the report's circulation to the Perry campaign, Sullivan said, "Sen. Hutchison has been a party activist for decades, pre-Ronald Reagan back in the 1970s. She feels very dedicated to Texas and the Republican Party.
"She's focused on doing her job, serving Texas in the U.S. Senate. He (Perry) really needs to be focused on doing his. There are a lot of critical issues before them this session."
My question: is this really the opinion of White House aides? Or, rather, is it a hint from Rove & Co. that they don't want Kay to run?
For years Rove has helped clear the fields of what might have otherwise been contested primaries. Rove may be busy now, but I somehow doubt that he's completely lost interest in Texas, given that he spearheaded the GOP takeover of Texas.
I tend to think that Hutchison is more likely to run than not, which leads me to wonder.
Clements op-ed endorsing Perry
Former Governor Bill Clements has an op-ed in today's Dallas Morning News. Clements endorses Perry and
There are some key differences here, in my mind.
In 1978, the Democratic Party was in the majority and dominating the political landscape. Democrats held all statewide offices, except for the Senate seat of John Tower. They controlled both the House and Senate in the state Legislature. They occupied the vast majority of local offices.
Conventional wisdom informed us that this was the political reality for years, if not decades, to come.
Then a funny thing happened on the way to the polling place. Conventional wisdom was turned on its head.
Democrats engaged in a contentious primary for the gubernatorial nomination. John Hill battled incumbent Dolph Briscoe. The Democratic Party ended the primary divided and embittered, with the liberal and conservative wings fractured. It did not heal in time for November, and some would say that it has never healed. Many conservative Democrats started voting Republican in 1978 and eventually became Republicans.
The majority party that could not lose did exactly that in 1978 to an outsider, a successful drilling contractor who had no previous political experience. Me.
I tell this story to send a message about 2006. Make no mistake, if Texas Republicans have a blood bath in a primary battle between Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry, we are providing the Democrats an opening to make a speedy comeback to political prominence. We risk dividing our party for decades to come. This is serious business, and Republicans should take heed.
The Texas Democratic Party had a history of internal warfare between different wings of the party. Many of these folks didn't necessarily get along well, and for good reason. Plus, a big section of the Democratic Party was really more compatible ideologically in the Republican Party...folks like Phil Gramm. So it was significantly easier to get people to vote for the non-dominant party back when Democrats ruled.
Today's Texas GOP isn't very similar to yesterday's Texas Dems. No similar history of bitterness, no ideological warfare, and no section of the GOP that would be more comfortable with in the Democratic Party.
Moreoever, the 1978 primary was on May 6,The 2006 Texas primary is March 7. There will be two months longer for wounds to heal.
That said, no doubt Clements' point is valid. The bloodier the primary, the greater the Democrats chance in the general.
I agree that Democrats will watch with glee. Party elders are understandably nervous at the thought of a bloody primary, because it will increase the Democrats' chances, even if only marginally.
Some observers point out that Republicans have had contested gubernatorial primaries. I've been in several, including in 1978. But those were tame. Every indication suggests that a Perry-Hutchison primary would be something very different – something no one but partisan Democrats would enjoy.
Discipline, focus and teamwork have been at the foundation of Republican success in recent years. Texas Republicans are the majority. We are elected to run the state government, and we win more local seats every year. If we lose our focus, if we fight each other, we may end up with a result few "experts" believe is possible.
I support Mr. Perry for re-election. I support Ms. Hutchison for re-election. It is best for Texas and the Republican Party.
Mr. Perry is a strong conservative. He has confronted many challenges and achieved impressive results. In 2003, he faced a $10 billion budget shortfall and solved it without a tax increase. He championed reform of the civil justice system to stop junk lawsuits and improve our business climate for job creation. He established an enterprise fund to attract companies to Texas. He has helped direct $7 billion in new resources to Texas classrooms.
He also took on the tough job of congressional redistricting. The Democrats did not like it. Neither did many in the media. But redistricting was needed in Texas to more accurately reflect the state and to help President Bush. Texas redistricting resulted in more congressmen supporting our nation's war on terrorism and the president's economic policies.
Ms. Hutchison also deserves re-election. The senator serves on the key Armed Services and Appropriations committees. If she leaves the Senate, Texas loses seniority and seats on these committees. Moreover, as Mr. Bush leads the war on terrorism, works to reform Social Security and fights to appoint common-sense judges, we need a strong, seasoned voice helping him.
Historians tell us that if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history.
The Republican Party today is dominant in Texas. However, our success is not preordained. Tens of thousands of volunteers and scores of tireless candidates worked for many decades to realize this success. We won. But we are one bad election cycle away from giving back ground, as the Democrats did in 1978.
I've been there when we were the minority party and when the majority party turned its guns on itself. When the smoke cleared, the political world in Texas was turned upsidedown. The Democrats gave us the opportunity in 1978. Let's remember that and not do the same in 2006.
That said, I've already gone on record giving Democrats very long odds for unseating either Perry or Hutchison (or Strayhorn for that matter).
18 May 2005
White House thinks Kay won't run?
A reader passes this along:
White House Doesn't Think Hutchinson Will Run For Texas Governor. US News Bulletin had learned senior Bush aides have concluded that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson likely won't take on Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry in a GOP primary next year. Instead, they believe that Hutchinson will run for reelection in 2006 and serve one more term. Hutchinson has been considering a race, but White House insiders believe that her Senate schedule is too packed to allow enough time for her to run.I haven't been able to verify this, but I believe it likely to be true.
Also, GOP strategists believe that her pro-choice position on abortion will mute conservative support for her. While a primary race leading up to the 2006 election is still far off, the contest is picking up steam, with former Rep. Chris Bell setting up an exploratory committee to review the race. As part of their pitch, his team is promoting Bell's complaint about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to the ethics committee while he was in Washington.
If anyone can verify that the item is from US News Bulletin -- apparently a coordinated effort between US News and Bulletin News -- then send me an email.
Texas Monthly's Burka on Strayhorn
Paul Burka has a feature on Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn in next month's Texas Monthly.
The headline is: "Carole Keeton Strayhorn Has Guts. Carole Keeton Strayhorn Is Nuts. Discuss." You can preview the piece here.
I may comment more later.
Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) apparently says that Kay Bailey Hutchison is likely to become chair of the Senate Republican Conference -- #3 in the Senate leadership. McConnell is expected to succeed Bill Frist as Majority Leader and current #3 Rick Santorum ought move into McConnell's Majority Whip position.
"A lot of us hope she will spend a long time with us," McConnell said.These are all elected by the Senate Republican Caucus, of course, so it is possible that Hutchison could face a challenge for the leadership positions.
If Santorum were defeated — he is facing a very tough race — Hutchison could move into the high-ranking whip position.
Hutchison did not respond to McConnell's statements, which may have been a hint that GOP leaders want her to avoid opposing Perry.
Her press secretary, Chris Paulitz, played down McConnell's statement, saying it was only logical she would become the conference chair because she is currently the vice chair.
McConnell's statements will not influence Hutchison's gubernatorial decision, which is expected in July, Paulitz said.
When Hutchison was elected to a 1995-2000 term, she said, "I've always said that I would serve no more than two full terms. This may be my last term, or I could run for one more. But no more after that. I firmly believe in term limitations, and I plan to adhere to that."
She repeated the pledge in 1994 TV campaign ads.
Regardless, the push-and-pull over her possible gubernatorial candidacy is under way.
Hutchison has expressed a desire to return home to raise her young son and daughter. Her latest approval rating of 67 percent among Texans far exceeds Perry's 45 percent, according to a recent Scripps Howard Texas poll.
In late April, Dallas GOP chairman and Perry contributor Nate Crain said Hutchison should drop the race because her considerations are dangerously dividing Texas Republicans.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee also wouldn't want to see her go.
"When you have a figure like her in the Senate, you are absolutely going to want to continue having her as part of your team," NRSC spokesman Brian Nick said. "Will there be senators encouraging her to stay in the Senate? The answer is yes."
Senate Republicans don't want Hutchison to run for governor because then they would have to send campaign money to Texas to defend Kay's open seat. Since Texas is a big state, that takes up lots of millions that could be spent elsewhere.
Still, it's surprising that McConnell would publicly hint that Hutchison should remain in the Senate.
17 May 2005
Hutchison denies ambassador rumor
Todd Gillman gets Senator Hutchison to deny the rumor that she's in line to be the next ambassador to Britain.
Choice Kay Bailey quotes:
"Is that the craziest thing you've ever heard?" she said, adding that she has no interest in the job.
"I am absolutely not interested, nor has anyone talked to me about it. This is manufactured – by that little fly on the ceiling there," she said, laughing again and looking up at the ornate tiling in the lobby off the Senate chamber.
A White House spokesman dismissed talk of a Hutchison appointment.
Ms. Hutchison said unequivocally that she will appear on the Texas ballot next year – though she remained coy as ever about whether she'll be running for re-election or taking on Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary. She has promised an announcement by late June.
"It's just crazy. It's totally out of the realm of possibility. I have never ... said I wanted anything, any appointment in this administration or any administration, I might add. That's just nuts," the senator said. "I'm not saying that it's malicious. Just, those things happen."
Welcome to the new home of Rick Perry versus the World.
It looks great, doesn't it? I think so, and it's entirely due to Kevin Whited and Chris Elam for the site design and graphics, respectively. Kevin in particular put a good deal of work into the site, for which I am inordinately grateful.
And we have comments now. Feel free to use them.
16 May 2005
Texas Monthly on Strayhorn
Texas Monthly should have a "major piece" coming out on Comptroller Strayhorn in next month's edition.
We hope to have a preview link for you in the next week or so, courtesy of Texas Monthly.
Weyrich on KBH vs Perry
Senator Hutchison said she would make up her mind about running against Governor Perry or running for another term in the Senate. She would have no trouble getting re-elected. The Democrats most likely would endorse a sacrificial candidate to run against her. Senator Hutchison is more liberal than her colleague, Fellow Republican Senator John Cornyn, and almost all other Republicans in the Texas Congressional Delegation. In fact, one motivation for Senator Hutchison, we are told, is her frustration over continually having to take more conservative stands than she would like but she tries to be loyal to President Bush and the more conservative GOP leadership in the Senate. When she served one term as Chairman of the Senate Steering Committee she would cringe when advised of positions she should take with the Senate’s conservative leadership. Most Senators serve multiple terms as chairman of this caucus of conservative Senators. She did not.
The incumbent Governor may be tough to beat. While not having the engaging personality of a George W. Bush or even an Ann Richards Governor Perry nevertheless is a solid conservative who vowed he would run on his record. He adamantly opposes tax increases. He was victorious over the budget crisis, (which nearly every Governor has experienced). Texas had a $10 billion deficit. Perry is the ONLY Governor to have balanced the budget without raising taxes. In fact, in this session of the Texas State Legislature Governor Perry is tangling with some fellow Republicans, a few of whom want to raise taxes and revenues. The Governor's answer has been consistently "no."
Perry has the support of social conservatives who have become a very important part of the Texas GOP. Indeed the expanded party base has developed at the expense of pro-life and pro-family Democrats who left their party after it was dominated by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other leftwing groups. In the last session of the Texas Legislature, Governor Perry led the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act. He led the passage of a unique “women’s right-to-know” law, which requires that prior to seeking abortions women receive information about the possible consequences of such a procedure. It is an informed-consent law which other states are reviewing as a possible model for regulating abortion. Perry also led and passed the "Pre-Natal Protection Act," which is really the Lacy and Connor Peterson Law for Texas. This session the Governor supports enactment of a parental-consent abortion law and wants a Constitutional amendment on marriage approved at the federal level.
Already the Governor and Senator Hutchison have clashed over embryonic stem cell research. Senator Hutchison favors expanding the available lines for stem cell research. Governor Perry takes President Bush's position that one does not destroy potential human life in the name of scientific research. It is not clear what Senator Hutchison's position is on pro-family issues that Governor Perry has advocated but she came to the Senate as a supporter of abortion rights. She has voted for most pro-life issues in the intervening years, however, because most abortion votes have involved funding and other marginal issues rather than abortion itself.
1. Kay Bailey Hutchison completed the Capital Challenge to again claim the title of fastest female senator.
2. KBH received "enthusiastically" by the mostly black congregation at T.D. Jakes' church in Dallas. Unfortunately for Kay, probably not many are Republican primary voters.
3. The Statesman blog has rumors that Wentworth and others in the House were planning to prohibit federal campaign funds from being used in state races. That would mean KBH wouldn't be able to use her $7 million in federal accounts to run for governor.
4. Rocker and activist Ted Nugent "has developed a friendship with Republican Gov. Rick Perry. He said the two send e-mails and talk regularly. They met a few years ago through a mutual hunting pal, and Nugent plans to help Perry's re-election campaign next year." (AP)
5. Perry and Hutchison temporarily make nice in fighting for Texas to keep its military installations.
Ambassador Hutchison rumors
Douglas, Recio and Moritz in the FWST:
It may not have much basis in fact, but the latest rumor about U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has Austin buzzing again.
It has Hutchison, a Dallas Republican reportedly considering a bid for Texas governor, getting tapped by President Bush as U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James's, the plum United Kingdom position now vacant.
That would clear a major hurdle to Gov. Rick Perry's re-election and open up the coveted Senate nomination for U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, or Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
Hutchison spokesman Chris Paulitz dismissed the rumors.
"She's never been offered an ambassadorship," he said.
The U.S. ambassador's London residence is one of the most luxurious in the U.S. Foreign Service. Winfield House, a gift to the United States by heiress Barbara Hutton, is an antique-filled mansion on 12 1/2 acres in Regent's Park.
Hutchison might want to consider it.
12 May 2005
New Texas poll has Perry and Hutch sliding
The new Texas Poll shows Rick Perry's job approval rating at 45%, with 35% disapproving. That's down from 51% in a poll released in mid-February. The poll was done from 4/14 to 5/4.
KBH's approval shows a similar slide, from 72% approving in the previous poll to 67% now. Strayhorn moved slightly downward from 53% to 51%. By contrast, Bush's approval is 58% in the poll.
Among Republicans, job approval is 68% for Hutchison and 63% for Perry.
These results do make you wonder how Survey USA found a 38/48 job approval/disapproval in a 5/6 to 5/8 poll. The SUSA poll seems low.
Full writeup in the HouChron by Polly Ross Hughes.
11 May 2005
Are we having fun yet?
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison was the target of criticism from Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday after she proposed a highway measure that Perry supported.
Hutchison, R-Texas, is considering challenging Perry in the 2006 GOP gubernatorial primary. Perry has announced he will seek another term.
Hutchison proposed an amendment to a U.S. Senate bill authorizing spending levels for transportation and federal highways. Her amendment would prohibit states from assessing tolls on existing highways.
Perry said in a statement he agrees Hutchison's proposal. But then came the criticism.
"We're glad Sen. Hutchison is following Gov. Perry's lead in opposing the conversion of existing highway lanes to be used as toll roads," press secretary Kathy Walt said in a statement.
"But instead of solving a problem that doesn't exist in Texas, we hope she will solve one that does," Walt said. Walt said the state needs "real leadership to ensure Texas gets treated fairly when it comes to highway funding."
Heh. Sounds like the Perry campaign is not going to commit to the "she's so effective in the Senate, she ought to stay there" line.
1. Dallas oilman Albert Huddleston says he'll donate heavily to KBH if she challenges Perry:
A deep-pocketed Dallas contributor said Friday he will funnel big bucks to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign if she challenges Gov. Rick Perry's bid for another term next year.
"She'd make a great governor," Albert Huddleston said. "If (she) chooses to run, then I will be helping her in that effort more than I've rarely helped anybody."
Perry's campaign spokesman, Luis Saenz, discounted Huddleston because he's spoken kindly of creating a state personal income tax and supported Democrats.
I checked Huddleston's political contributions at both federal and state level. He gives mostly (75%ish, I'd say) to Republicans, but definitely has lots of Democrats that he contributes to as well.
Not that it should matter that much. Both Perry and Hutchison should have plenty of money.
2. Byron highlights some relatively low poll numbers from Rick Perry. I can't find the actual poll results beyond the basic Perry job approval numbers, which are 38% Approve, 48% Disapprove, and 14% Unsure. Byron adds some numbers I couldn't find anywhere on Survey USA's website, that Republicans are 57/33 approval/disapproval with 10% unsure.
Lots of political journalists and observers discount Survey USA's polls, since they use automated questioners instead of human questioners on the other end of the line. I generally think that the skepticism of Survey USA is unwarranted.
I pass on the results of this poll without comment, as there are several reasons why this mightn't be very predictive.
Mistakes by inexperienced staffers
Remember the Republican pro-choice group that removed Hutchison from its endorsement list?
The group says it was a mistake by an "inexperienced staffer":
With Texas conservatives dogging her every move, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison found herself embroiled this week in an issue she prefers to avoid â€“ abortion â€“ after a miscue by a Republican abortion-rights group that has long backed her.
The Wish List, a group that raises money for GOP candidates who support abortion rights, sought to knock down reports it was distancing itself from Ms. Hutchison.
The Texas senator remains on the group's Web site as an honorary board member and is touted as one of four female pro-choice GOP senators.
Earlier this week, Wish List removed a page saying it "strongly supports" Ms. Hutchison for a third term in the Senate. The group's president, Pat Carpenter, on Friday blamed "an inexperienced staffer" for posting an endorsement prematurely, since Ms. Hutchison is not yet a declared candidate for re-election.
Social-conservative allies of the governor's campaign -- prodded by a Perry aide -- pounced on the group's decision, calling it an effort to hide Ms. Hutchison's support of abortion rights. They circulated a news release that erroneously said Wish List had dropped her from its board.
On Friday, social conservatives stepped up their attack on Ms. Hutchison with a new round of e-mails to activists in Texas.
Kelly Shackelford of the Free Market Foundation, which opposes abortion and gay marriage, said he's confident Mr. Perry would win the GOP primary.
At the same time, he said, some social conservatives see a silver lining in a Hutchison challenge because it would trigger elections that could put more conservative candidates in statewide office.
"I've talked with a number of people who privately think it might be a good thing," he said.
It's no secret that the legislature's failure to produce a school finance bill hurts Rick Perry.
William McKenzie writes in a DMN column:
That sound you hear from Austin is a door swinging open, plenty wide enough for Kay Bailey Hutchison to barge right through.
Gov. Rick Perry has had every chance this session to lead legislators to a plan that answers the state's school funding shortfall, effectively closing Ms. Hutchison out of a gubernatorial primary challenge. Instead, he talks mostly about new academic and financial standards for schools. He appears content with the Legislature's funding proposals.
Unlike Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, who's more likely to enter the GOP governor's race because she darn well wants to, Ms. Hutchison doesn't want to take this big leap without the right opening. She sells well across Texas, drawing about two-thirds of the votes in her Senate races. She particularly resonates with suburban voters, including women in places like Plano who place a high priority on their children's schools.
Before the 2005 Legislature, Mr. Perry gave her some daylight. After an impressive stint as lieutenant governor in 1999, his first session as governor in 2001 ended with strained feelings because he vetoed a ton of bills. His swift pen angered even supporters.
Then came 2003 and the Legislature's mean budget battle. With the governor's backing, the House took deep cuts out of programs that help kids and the elderly. The House's approach pretty much prevailed because the governor didn't want legislators to raise taxes.
Mr. Perry's no-new-taxes theme continues in the school finance debate, fed by the anti-tax movement that conservative advocate Grover Norquist and others in Washington have turned into a cottage industry. "Everyone in Austin's been Norquistized," says one business leader.
But here's the rub: Schools don't get fixed without enough money. If Mr. Perry keeps low-balling the state's education investment over the next month â€“ and if GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst can't get the governor and House to budge â€“ Ms. Hutchison has ample room to run. She can make the case that the governor didn't lead the state into the future.
Color me skeptical about McKenzie's column. McKenzie advocates that if Perry wants to be re-elected, then the guv ought raise taxes to pay for increased expenditures.
I'm very skeptical of the notion that GOP primary voters are clamoring for more state taxes, regardless of where the money is spent.
06 May 2005
Who's On The Right?
A national organization that promotes Republicans who support abortion rights removed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's name Wednesday from its list of advisory board members and from the list of candidates it will endorse in next year's elections.
Hutchison's office said the senator did not request that her name be removed. But Gov. Rick Perry's campaign, which views Texas' senior senator as a potential rival in next year's GOP gubernatorial primary, suggested that Hutchison was trying to camouflage her position on one of the hot-button issues among Republican activists.
"It looks like she's trying to hide from her record," said Luis Saenz, a spokesman for the Perry campaign. "Governor Perry is very proud of his record when it comes to issues dealing with the unborn."
The national organization, called The Wish List, would not say why Hutchison's name was removed.
Hutchison has consistently supported abortion rights, sometimes putting her at odds with social conservatives, who have a strong influence in Republican primaries.
Meanwhile, Wayne Slater writes up Perry's speech at a recent prayer breakfast
Gov. Rick Perry, who is counting on the support of social conservatives in his re-election bid, told a religious audience Tuesday that "America was founded on our Christian faith" and that prayer can help guide government policy.
"From the earliest days of the republic, our leaders have called upon Americans to join together in prayer," Mr. Perry told the Texas Prayer Breakfast.
The Republican governor said God "chooses to involve himself in the affairs of men â€“ and not just the major issues that we deal with, but in every issue."
Facing a possible challenge in next year's Republican primary, Mr. Perry has cast himself as a social conservative and courted opponents of abortion and gay marriage.
"That's a base of support he absolutely has to have," said Richard Murray, a University of Houston political science professor.
Mr. Perry's address Tuesday to several hundred people attending the prayer breakfast struck strong religious themes and produced a standing ovation. The breakfast was part of National Day of Prayer.
03 May 2005
AP on anti-TTC rally
The AP wire:
About 250 farmers and ranchers rallied at the Capitol today to protest Governor Rick Perry's Trans Texas Corridor.
Critics say the highway project will gobble up the property of rural land owners.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn joined the demonstrators and called Perry's associates "land-grabbing highway henchmen."
She also called the governor's plan the "Trans Texas Catastrophe."
Spokesman Robert Black also says Strayhorn in the past has supported toll roads.
RG Ratcliffe has this in the Chron:
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn got farmers, ranchers and small-business owners whipped into a frenzy at a Capitol rally Tuesday as they called for Gov. Rick Perry's impeachment over the land-condemnation provisions of his Trans-Texas Corridor plan.
"Perry and his hand-picked highway henchmen say we have a choice: no roads, slow roads or toll roads," Strayhorn said. "I say to Governor Perry and his highway henchmen: Hogwash. Vote our way today for freeways."
The Kate and Nate show
Kay Bailey Hutchison wants Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Nate Crain to leave her alone.
"I'm trying very hard to focus on my job," she said after a speech last week at the Belo Mansion. "I just would hope that our party leaders would not be taking shots at an officeholder in the party who is trying very hard to do her job."
"There is a disturbing pattern about where this is headed," Mr. Crain said. "I don't want to see our party split."
Rick Neudorff, the Collin County Republican Party chairman, supports Mr. Crain.
"I would rather her not run and have campaign money sucked up in one race," he said.
Potential Republican campaign donors throughout the state have sent similar signals. But despite some institutional opposition, analysts consider Ms. Hutchison unbeatable in her own back yard.
Her campaign contends that Mr. Perry's organization is responsible for Mr. Crain's sniping.
"It says a lot about his leadership," said Terry Sullivan, campaign manager for Ms. Hutchison. "He needs to focus on the important things going on in our state, instead of worrying about re-election."
Luis Saenz, the governor's campaign director, said Mr. Crain is "his own guy" and that Mr. Perry was not involved in the party leader's spat with Ms. Hutchison.
02 May 2005
The Weekly Weekend Roundup
1. Dean Barkley has joined Kinky Friedman's campaign as "campaign director and chief strategist." Barkley managed Jesse Ventura's campaign for governor of Minnesota and then was appointed US Senator by Gov. Ventura when Paul Wellstone died.
2. Senator Hutchison called the folks behind the Minuteman Project "very brave" and "caring." The Minuteman Project is volunteers who patrol the Arizona-Mexico border in the hopes of stopping immigrants from entering the US without documentation.
3. Rick Casey opines in the HouChron that the death of a campaign finance bill "could add considerable sizzle to a potential gubernatorial primary fight between" Perry and KBH. The dead bill would have prohibited outside groups from running ads in the days before an election.
Perry meets with Chronicle ed board
Clay Robison writes up Perry's sitdown with the Chron editorial board. The article mostly focuses on the CPS overhaul legislation and the controversial amendment banning homosexuals from being foster parents.
Cheers to In the Pink for the reminder to post this.