Republicans were hoping Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's expected resignation to run for governor wouldn't happen until next year, thus avoiding an early special election. Unfortunately for them, her plummeting poll numbers against über-wingnut Gov. Rick Perry have forced her hand. She's coming home earlier.
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on Wednesday told WBAP's Mark Davis she plans to officially launch her bid for Texas governor in August. She added that she will step down from the U.S. Senate sometime in October or November to battle incumbent fellow Republican Governor Rick Perry.
Had Hutchison pulled a Palin this summer, Republicans would've been forced into a November special election, so she's giving them at least a seven-month respite. A fall resignation means the special election will take place in May 2010.
Hutchison claims she's sticking around through the fall to fight against Obama's health care and cap and trade plans, and to vote against Sonia Sotomayor. She needs to be the Queen of No in DC to try and appease the angry Right enraptured by Perry's secession talk. Good luck with that. She'd be better off coming home earlier to try and stem Perry's momentum. Instead, she just gifted him another four months in his head start.
Update: Forgot to mention this key point -- the governor will appoint an interim senator while the seat is filled by special election. Give Texas props for coming up with the best way to fill Senate vacancies -- the interim appointment ensures they have full Senate representation, but a quick special election lets voters make the ultimate call.