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Hutchison May Face Opposition as GOP Conference Chair

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Things change fast in Washington.

Yesterday morning, I reported that Lamar Alexander of Tennessee might challenge Arizona’s Jon Kyl for the position of Minority Whip, which is being vacated by Trent Lott. Yesterday afternoon, I reported, based on phone calls to the offices of Texas’s two senators, that the most likely scenario was that the three remaining members of the leadership team after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — Kyl, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and John Cornyn — would each move up one slot, without challenge. Subsequent to that post, Alexander issued a press release announcing his intention to support Kyl for whip and to seek the chairmanship of the Republican Conference, the position that Kyl currently holds and which Kay Bailey Hutchison would inherit in the everybody-moves-up scenario. Richard Burr of North Carolina may also get in that race. Burr would be the conservative candidate.

I just got off the phone with a Senate staffer — yes, that is purposely ambiguous –who said that while Hutchison would be the presumed favorite, the possibility that she might leave early to run for governor will be a factor in the race. Hutchison will have to decide whether to run, and risk the embarrassment of losing, or bow out gracefully, or try to persuade her colleagues that the everybody-moves-up scenario is the best for everybody — particularly KBH.

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