I missed this story from the Startlegram on Saturday. The first few paragraphs: No one seems to be mentioning U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, as a candidate to replace outgoing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. Turns out that Barton — who came in third in the 1993 special election that Hutchison won in a runoff — is indeed thinking about running. “Congressman Barton continues to watch the developments in Texas politics with an interested eye,” spokesman Sean Brown said. “He believes serving the entire state of Texas as their next senator would be an honor. If and when an opportunity presents itself, he will discuss it with his wife, family and supporters before making any decision.” I checked out Barton’s latest financial disclosure form, after a few false starts. He reports $1,415,151.02 cash on hand in mid-July. All of it has been raised under federal rules and would transfer to a Senate race. One problem: Craig Murphy, a longtime Barton ally, is helping Roger Williams, who is also running for Hutchison’s seat. Since there are really two races going on here, one for Governor Perry’s appointment to fill a vacancy in the event Hutchison resigns, and one for the seat itself, the question is whether Perry might consider choosing Barton. I don’t know anything about their personal relationship, but I do think that Barton is Perry’s kind of Republican. Dewhurst, who has the deepest pockets, has the fundraising advantage, but Barton holds a lot of chits from the days when he chaired the Commerce committee, a magnet for well heeled lobbyists. The GOP field is not the strongest. Stranger things have happened.