There doesn’t seem to be much love lost between the governor and the state’s soon-to-be senior U.S. Senator John Cornyn. When Perry was contemplating a race for president in 2011, Cornyn’s comment was a lukewarm, “The field is already pretty full. There have been a lot of people working at it for a number of years.” Now Cornyn is widely presumed to be interested in a major Senate leadership post–most likely, whip–if Republicans regain majority control of the Senate. Currently, Cornyn is a member of the GOP leadership team as vice-chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. The post of whip will be vacant, as John Kyl of Arizona is retiring from the Senate. U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz likewise has shown little enthusiasm for Cornyn’s ambition to move up the Senate leadership ladder. Cruz has shown more interest in internal Senate politics–in particular, efforts by Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina to seek the position of whip for himself or to get an ideological conservative elected to the post–than in helping to elevate a fellow Texan to a position from which he can use his influence to better his home state. In the Texas Senate race, DeMint is a strong supporter of Cruz, who has ducked the issue of whether he would support Cornyn, saying it would be “presumptive” of him to take a position at this point in time. Perry, meanwhile, remains mum about the fight. He and Cornyn are not close, Cornyn having been aligned with George W. Bush and not Perry during their formative years in Texas politics, and of course both men are former Rove clients. When Perry ran for governor in 2010, Cornyn was asked about how much credit Perry deserved for Texas’ economic strength during the nationwide economic downturn. “He’s entitled to some credit, but not alone,” Cornyn said. Now Perry is backing Dewhurst in the Senate race, while Cruz has aligned himself with DeMint and his Senate Conservatives PAC. Meanwhile, the Cornyn-Perry disc0rd simmers. After Perry halted his presidential campaign last spring, Cornyn, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said, “[Perry] should get back to work governing Texas. That’s stood him in good stead and given him high approval ratings, and I think that’s the best thing he could do — if he were interested in my advice.” It will be a travesty if Cruz wins the Senate race and votes for a non-Texan as whip in preference to Cornyn.
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