Today in the governor's race: Why Hutchison can't resign
Thu January 21, 2010 10:43 am

HUTCHISON

George H.W. Bush will endorse Hutchison, following Cheney and Baker. The Cheney endorsement was worse than useless; it was self-defeating, because it didn't help her with conservatives who hate all things Washington, and it hurt her with moderate R's who saw him as a sinister figure who undermined the W. presidency. The Bush and Baker endorsements are different. Bush 41 and Baker aren't going to help her with the anti-Washington crowd, of course, but they are respected figures whose endorsements should be well received by the Bushie moderates.

PERRY

Nothing yet from the Perry camp today, but yesterday's statement employed the oft-repeated theme that "she must do the job she was elected to do."

As the U.S. Senate begins its 2010 session today, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison must do the job she was elected to do and focus her efforts on defeating health care legislation. The election of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown ends the Democratic 60-seat supermajority as soon as Senator-elect Brown is sworn in, as there will now be 41 Republican members of the Senate.

“Sen. Hutchison said she was staying in the Senate to fight the government takeover of health care, but now she says she is going to spend ‘every waking moment’ campaigning,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “Sen. Hutchison was elected by the people of Texas to represent them every day in the U.S. Senate, and with the health care fight renewed, now more than ever, Texans deserve full-time representation. Anything less is completely disrespectful to the people of Texas.”

The fact is, Hutchison's vote is no longer needed to defeat health care. She doesn't have to be present for the Republicans to prevail. She could take the next space shuttle flight, and it would make no difference. The majority party needs 60 votes to win a cloture motion to defeat a filibuster, and they don't have them. The one thing Hutchison can't do is resign her seat. If she were to resign, Perry could name a Republican to succeed her (Michael Williams is the likely choice), but Williams would have to run in a special election to fill the remainder of Hutchison's term. If a Democrat (read: John Sharp) were to win the election, the Democrats would be back to 60.

I spoke too soon about "nothing today from the Perry camp." Here is their daily blast:

Over the past 12 months, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has given 12 different answers to the question, “When will you resign from the U.S. Senate?”

Number 12 came yesterday, when a spokeswoman for Sen. Hutchison told the San Antonio Express-News “a Hutchison resignation would occur shortly after the primary or it could be months away.”

“Being governor is about making decisions and sticking to them,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner. “Sen. Hutchison has proven throughout this campaign that she will contradict herself from previous policies and statements. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Sen. Hutchison needs a team of advisors to figure out which door to walk out of when she leaves the house in the morning.”

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