Texas Gov. Rick Perry scores resounding win over Kay Bailey Hutchison in GOP primary; Debra Medina third
Incumbent Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry scored an easy primary victory Tuesday against two women, GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and businesswoman Debra Medina, a favorite of Tea Party supporters.
Even before all the votes were counted Hutchison called Perry, a longtime intra-party foe, to concede, as it became apparent within minutes that he was going to achieve more than the 50% necessary to avoid a runoff with Hutchison.
with nearly three-quarters of a million votes already counted, Perry was pulling in nearly 53% while Hutchison had 31% and Medina only 17%.
The race drew special attention because of the intra-party competition and the third-wheel element of Medina as a measure of the Tea Party threat to Republican incumbents. If those numbers hold up, they show Perry having gained strength in the campaign's closing days, while his two opponents remained where recent polls put them.
Hutchison accused Perry of becoming arrogant in his record-setting years in the governor's high-ceilinged Austin offices and allowing cronies to play an influential role in state government.
Perry, who had former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin eagerly campaign for him, ran strongly to the right in the conservative state, painting Hutchison as a Washington insider, which is a bad thing outside Washington, and calling her at one point Kay Bailout Hutchison for her support of federal economic interventions.
Perry will now face off against Democrat Bill White in November, seeking an unprecedented fourth gubernatorial term as governor of the Lone Star state. Perry inherited the governor's office in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become president.
White, the three-term Houston mayor, cruised to an easy win in the Democratic gubernatorial race, even with a crowded field of seven candidates. Early returns showed White, who abandoned a Senate race to go for the top job in Austin, raking in more than seven of 10 Democrat votes.
Hutchison, wisely now it seems, had kept her U.S. Senate seat during the gubernatorial primary campaign after initially signaling she would resign. Her term runs through the end of 2012.
Perry sets up Hutchison as Washington insider
Debra Medina slips up over 9/11
Medina with Tea Party support shows growing strength
All Republican candidates lead Democrat for Texas governor
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Photos: Associated Press