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Texas Gov. Perry slams Kay Bailey Hutchison as a Washington insider -- are incumbents cooked?

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison rides in Houston Rodeo Parade while campaigning to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry
It's a good thing Kay Bailey Hutchison didn't give up her day job.

She almost did --originally, the Texas senator planned to resign in October or November to give her full attention to the race to unseat Gov. Rick Perry in the Republican primary for governor. Then she decided not to. Perhaps an early reading of the political winds?

In any event, Perry has been pounding her as a Washington politician who has lost touch with constituents in Texas. Check out this TV ad from his campaign.

With the election Tuesday and polls showing her trailing by double digits, Hutchison has been channeling her true Texan. Over the weekend, Hutchison rode horseback through downtown Houston, in black Wranglers, shiny black cowboy boots and a black cowboy hat, for the city’s annual Downtown Rodeo Parade. In fairness,  she's done this before, but somehow one of the most popular politicians in the state -- Hutchison got 4 million votes in 2000 -- looked a bit desperate.

The whole thing is a bit sad. Hutchison wanted to run for governor in 2006, but party insiders talked her out of a bruising inter-party battle. Now, the rift between them has exposed fissures within the GOP, with the first former President Bush and most of his allies backing Hutchison, making for strained relations with Perry.

And if that weren't enough, a third candidate in the race -- Wharton County Republican Chair Debra Medina -- has become the darling of the "tea party" movement, tripling her standing in the polls in recent weeks. Should she pull enough votes from Perry to rob him of a 50% majority, the top two candidates would face a runoff, which most see as Hutchison's last chance to win the governor's mansion.

If she loses, it's a warning sign to other incumbents that, in the face of an angry electorate, even Republicans are vulnerable.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Associated Press

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Comments () | Archives (4)

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(This is not just a political comment, this is also a criminal comment)

Kay Bailey Hutchison my want to be concerned about extending the “Statute of Limitations” if she stays in the US Senate.

How is what Don Hill (former Mayor Pro Tem Dallas) has done different then what Kay Bailey and Ray Hutchison have done and Don Hill was very, very guilty.

It has been said better by another:
"Kay Bailey's ethics leave much to be desired. As KBH [screen name] points out, there are serious unanswered questions about her advocacy on behalf of the DFW Airport Board while her husband simultaneously served as the Board's legal advisor. The Wright Amendment (of which she became the primary defendant) effectively rammed the only legally protected airport monopoly down the throats of North Texans against our will-- American Airlines made out like a bandit as a result. Hutchison lacks a moral compass-- she will do anything and everything to maximize her political power and her husband Ray's earnings potential (the perception is that when you hire Ray, you effectively purchase access to Kay)."

It could also be said- Don Hill is to Kay Bailey Hutchison as Don Hill's wife Sheila is to Ray Hutchison.

Don Hill and his wife Shelia were sentenced in Federal Court 2/26/2010 on Felony charges where they were given 18 years and 9 years in Federal Prison.

I believe it to be against the law for sure to be sleeping with the one you are using your public office to afford personal benefits for, your sleeping partner, that you will enjoy as well. This could also be called graft.

..and what is Perry? He is as much part of the problem as anyone else !

Hutchison would have fared better in 2006, before the Tea Party tagged her as a big-government liberal. Even Perry is now seen as a big-government moderate.

If the social networking site Facebook were any indication, Hutchison will be the big loser in Tuesday's primary election. I first began checking the three GOP candidates' Facebook fan numbers on Feb. 16. During that time Perry has added 4,844 new fans, Medina has added 4,317 new fans, and Hutchison has added just 427 new fans. In this one index of support both Perry and Medina have a tenfold momentum advantage over the senator who appears to be practically dead in the water.

In total number of fans Perry and Medina are also far ahead of the struggling senator. As of 7:25 today the numbers are:
Perry 28,965
Medina 23,904
Hutchison 15,369

How does a Perry/Medina runoff election sound to everybody? It could happen.

So Hutchison is an insider and Perry is a wing nut...politics as usual.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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