Texas National Press
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From left: Perry,
Hutchison, Kilgore, Medina, Shieffer, Friedman
|Texas Politics: The Governor's
Kay Bailey's in -- the race
is officially 'on'
|U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison made it official July 29 – she will step down from her Senate
seat this fall to run for Governor of Texas, making her the sixth announced
candidate and the third Republican seeking to dethrone incumbent Rick Perry.
Hutchison, 66, joins
Larry Kilgore and Debra Medina in the field of Republicans challenging
Perry. Businessman Tom Schieffer and entertainer Kinky Friedman have
announced they will seek the Democratic nomination.
The duel between Perry
and Hutchison has long been anticipated, and the presence of Kilgore, a
staunch religious conservative, and Medina, who has also taken very conservative
public stances, likely means that Perry and Hutchison, both decidedly centrists,
may have to cross ideological lines to appeal to the party’s base during
Perry has already
begun attempting to paint Hutchison as a “Washington insider,” and has
made a number of pro-Texas sovereignty announcements which appeal to conservatives.
In the most recent
legislative session, however, he angered many conservatives in particular
by further limiting the power of the State Board of Education over control
of textbook content, a moved welcomed by textbook publishers and the state’s
liberal education bureaucracy.
Hutchison, who made
her announcement on Metroplex radio station WBAP-AM, said she had given
Perry a “free ride” by not challenging him in the last election, saying:
“For him to try and stay on for 15 years is too long.”
Only one of the six
candidates openly favors Texas independence. Kilgore advocates a statewide
balloting of citizens to give them the choice between seceding or staying
in the Union.
Medina is the former
head of the Wharton County GOP and owner of a health-care company, advocates
elimination of the state property tax, replacing it with a revenue-neutral
Schieffer is the former
president of the Texas Rangers baseball team, a former ambassador and state
representative. He is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination,
but has reported difficulty with raising funds thus far.
Friedman ran against
Perry as an independent in 2006 and won 12 percent of the vote in a four-way