Senate Seat Series – Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

Kathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison is the retiring Republican Senator from Texas. She previously served as the Texas State Treasurer and in the Texas House of Representatives.

(Updated: blogger Lawrence Person notes that several of the people listed here have already declared no interest in running or have decided to run for other offices. I’ve struck through their names. Both Michael and Roger Williams are running for Congressional District 33. I’ve added BattleSwarm.com page to the references below for a deeper look into the Senate race)

That leaves a wide open arena of possibilities for her replacement. Nate has actually weighed in on this possibility just recently at Five Thirty Eight @ NYT. The top Republican contender appears to be Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Now that Houston Mayor Bill White has removed himself from contention, the strongest Democrats seems to be:

John Sharp

Former Texas State Comptroller John Sharp (D)
Strengths: Has strong grassroots organization. The last Democrat to win statewide office in Texas.
Weaknesses: Last won statewide office in 1994.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D)
Strengths: The boy wonder of Texas politics. Very popular officeholder.
Weaknesses: Seen as a statewide candidate in the future, not the present. Has not expressed interest in the Senate.

Former Waco Rep. Chet Edwards (D)
Strengths: Moderate record. Strong support among veterans, business groups. Close to President Obama personally.
Weaknesses: No statewide organization. Lost his last race (2010).

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia (D)
Strengths: A rising star in Democratic circles. Represents more constituents than any Latino elected official in U.S. except Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D).
Weaknesses: Doesn’t have statewide name ID yet. Still building a record and reputation.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (D)
Strengths: War hero with a latino background. Was commander of coalition forces in Iraq.
Weaknesses: Abu Ghraib happened under his watch though he was never directly linked to it. It will surely come up for discussion.

The list of Republicans eager to hold on to the seat is full of impressive resumes as well.

Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R)
Strengths: A prominent Latino conservative with a track record on legal issues. A compelling personal story
Weaknesses: Has focused on potential Attorney General race in the past. Ivy League background cuts both ways in a Republican primary.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R)
Strengths: High name recognition, proven vote-getting ability, a bottomless pit for campaign funding.
Weaknesses: He’s going to be very busy this year working on legislative business. He may want Rick Perry’s seat in 2014 (or sooner if Perry gets into Presidential race).

State Senator Dan Patrick (R) is also contemplating a run for the seat. The conservative radio talk show host and founder of the legislative Tea Party caucus announced that he was forming an exploratory committee on the Laura Ingraham Show back in May. Patrick has had a couple of tiffs with Dewhurst previously. But some think it’s for show.

Railroad Commission Elizabeth Ames Jones (R)
Strengths: A loyal cadre of followers, a high energy level.
Weaknesses: Not a household name across Texas — at least yet.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert (R)
Strengths: Comes from a county rich with Republican primary votes. Strong business support.
Weaknesses: Not well-known statewide. Holds nonpartisan office.

2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina (R)
Strengths: The original Texas Tea Party leader. A proven vote-getter.
Weaknesses: Didn’t get enough votes to win nomination.

Lake Jackson Rep. Ron Paul (R)
Strengths: A loyal national following. A strong statewide organization in Texas. Close ties to many Tea Party activists. Currently running for President but could get booted out of primary in time.
Weaknesses: He’s 75. He lost Republican primaries the only other times he ran statewide (for Senate in 1984, for president in 2008).

Plano State Sen. Florence Shapiro (R)
Strengths: Conservative voting record. Well-known among party activists.
Weaknesses: Lack of statewide organization. Could get squeezed by better-financed and even more conservative conservatives.

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R)
Strengths: A charismatic, inspiring speaker. Strong Tea Party support. National backing from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and others.
Weaknesses: He has a lot less money than some potential rivals.

Former Secretary of State Roger Williams (R)
Strengths: He’s been running for several years. A strong base in very Republican Tarrant County. Major celebrity endorsements.
Weaknesses: He still isn’t a household name in Pampa or Sugar Land.

And, of course one never knows what the following guy will do.

Author/singer/activist Kinky Friedman (D/R/I)
Strengths: He’s folksy. He well-known.
Weaknesses: He’s well-known for losing elections.

Then there’s always Hutchison herself. Though her favourable rating has waned lately dropping to 46%, Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Gray noted: “Kay Bailey Hutchison has changed her mind about retirement so many times, she could be known as the Brett Favre of the Senate.”

Skip the Senate Seat list to see related articles on the topic.

2012 Senate election map.svg

Here are the seats up for grabs:

  • Retiring Democrats
    • Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (I)
    • Kent Conrad of North Dakota
    • Jim Webb of Virginia
    • Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico
  • Retiring Republicans
  • Democratic incumbents who may seek re-election:
    • Dianne Feinstein of California
    • Tom Carper of Delaware
    • Bill Nelson of Florida
    • Daniel Akaka of Hawaii
    • Ben Cardin of Maryland
    • Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
    • Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
    • Claire McCaskill of Missouri
    • Jon Tester of Montana
    • Ben Nelson of Nebraska
    • Bob Menendez of New Jersey
    • Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
    • Sherrod Brown of Ohio
    • Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania
    • Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
    • Bernie Sanders of Vermont (I)
    • Maria Cantwell of Washington
    • Joe Manchin of West Virginia
    • Herb Kohl of Wisconsin
  • Republican incumbents who may seek re-election:
    • Richard Lugar of Indiana
    • Olympia Snowe of Maine
    • Scott Brown of Massachusetts
    • Roger Wicker of Mississippi
    • John Ensign of Nevada
    • Bob Corker of Tennessee
    • Orrin Hatch of Utah
    • John Barrasso of Wyoming

Feel free to throw your predictions into the ring, particularly if you live in any of these states.


About Mr. Universe

Mr. Universe is a musician/songwriter and an ex-patriot of the south. He currently lives and teaches at a University in the Pacific Northwest. He is a long distance hiker who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also an author and woodworker. An outspoken political voice, he takes a decidedly liberal stance in politics.
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One Response to Senate Seat Series – Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

  1. It looks like you haven’t looked at the race for four or five months. Both Michael and Roger Williams have dropped out of the race in the last month. Sharp, Castro Edwards, Garcia, Paul and Shapiro all said they weren’t running months ago.

    More race info here.

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