Aide: Hutchison plans to run for Texas governor in 2010
By SUZANNE GAMBOA
WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison may be moving a step closer to running for Texas governor.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported that Hutchison spokesman Matt Mackowiak said last week that she was planning to run for governor in 2010. Hutchison has earlier said she was "considering" a run for governor.
Mackowiak declined comment Monday when asked by The Associated Press about the remark.
She is serving her third term, which ends in 2012, and has said it will be her last.
Bryan Eppstein, a consultant to Hutchison, said the senator has said nothing new about her future. He referred to a statement she made Friday saying she would not make a formal announcement on her intentions until after this November's elections.
"The statements that carry the most weight are the statements from the senator herself," Eppstein said. "No one in Texas assumes she's not running. Everyone assumes she's running. There's a kind of a groundswell to recruit Kay Bailey to run," Eppstein said.
Republican consultant Bill Miller agreed.
"It basically qualifies as the worst kept secret in Texas," Miller said. "She's going to be a candidate. She's the most popular elected official in the state and she's a formidable foe for anybody. It's clear to me and to others she's running."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is eligible to run for another term.
Hutchison considered taking on Perry in 2006, but decided against what would then be a divisive primary battle.
But if she runs in 2010, "there's not anyone who could really make a case to me that this would be divisive for the Republican Party in a way that would make me step back," Hutchison has said.
Asked about Perry's possible run for a fourth term last week, Hutchison said, "Whatever. I'm just going to do what I'm going to do," according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Hutchison's name has also been tossed about as a possible running mate to Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Hutchison has said she's not seeking the job, but wouldn't turn it down if asked to join the ticket.
McCain recently suggested she'd be better suited as the state's governor. The Dallas Morning News reported that while a reporter was flying from Houston to Austin, he greeted Hutchison with "Governor, good to see you." The newspaper said she responded with: "I like the sound of that," and a smile.
Meanwhile, Dallas police say they have arrested a person accused of stalking Hutchison.
Dallas police Cpl. Janice Crowther would not provide any details today about the suspect or charges, other than to confirm that an arrest had been made.
In a statement, Hutchison's office said they reported a "potential concern" to U.S. Capitol Police before Congress began its two-week Easter recess last month.
Aides to the Republican said the danger was significant enough to warrant extra protection while Hutchison was in Texas.
Hutchison has authored bills aimed at toughening stalking laws. She has said she was stalked in the 1970s by a man who broke into her campaign office and stabbed a poster of her with an ice pick.