Saga to replace Hutchison began years before 2012 elections

Marilyn Tennissen May 29, 2012, 6:42am

Although the polls were still open at the time the Southeast Texas Record went to press Tuesday, it's likely the results of the Republican race for U.S. Senate will still be in the news.

Recent polls show that Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz are neck and neck, although some show Dewhurst with a small lead. Some are predicting a run-off between the two, but others think former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert may impact the results.

The contest is for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has held the seat since 1993 and decided not to run for another term.

The saga to replace the senator, who in 2001 was named as one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal, goes back five years or more.

Hutchison first said she would not seek re-election in December 2007. She also told Texas Monthly that she might resign from the Senate in 2009 to run against Rick Perry for governor of Texas.

She formed an exploratory committee after the 2008 election for the gubernatorial run in 2010. State Republican Party Chairman Cathie Adams asked Hutchison to clarify if she would resign from the Senate so that other Republican candidates could take a run at the spot.

At the same time, fellow Texan Sen. John Cornyn, who was National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, tried to convince Hutchison to stay in the Senate.

Hutchison went ahead with her campaign against Perry for the 2010 Republican primary, but had not decided if she would end her Senate career in the meantime.

From January to November 2009, potential Republican senatorial candidates chomped at the bit while Hutchison focused on defeating Perry. On Nov. 13, 2009, Hutchison announced she would not resign her Senate seat until after the March 2, 2010, primary.

She lost the gubernatorial primary to Perry and on March 31, 2010, said she would serve out her third term in the Senate.

However, it was not until January 2011 that she announced definitively that she would not seek re-election in 2012.

Hutchison serves on several of the most powerful committees in the Senate, including the Committee on Appropriations; Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Ranking Member); Subcommittee on Defense; Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development; Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans' Affairs, and Related Agencies; Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Ranking Member); and the Committee on Rules and Administration.

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