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From left: Perry, Hutchison, Kilgore, Medina, Shieffer, Friedman
Texas Politics: The Governor's Race
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 the primaries.
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 sales tax.
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 race.
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