Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) pledged her support for the eventual Republican presidential nominee, even if it's Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), her opponent in the bitter 2010 gubernatorial primary.

Hutchison said she had no doubts she would support the Republican nominee for president, a position for which Perry emerged as the new front-runner in a Wednesday poll.

"Of course I will be for the Republican nominee for president. We need new leadership that understands how to create jobs in America," she said in an interview airing Wednesday evening on the Fox Business Network. "I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is, because I know we can do better for our economy."

Hutchison and Perry sparred in an occasionally bruising Republican primary last year. The longtime Texas senator had sought to unseat Perry as governor but fell short, in part due to the Tea Party fervor that had swept the GOP last year.

"It was a very tough race. He had told our supporters he wouldn’t run and changed his mind," she said of that contest. "I was running for an open seat for governor, I thought, but he pivoted and decided to run again.

"I thought I was unfairly criticized, but of course I would think so," added Hutchison, who has said she'll retire at the end of her term in January 2013.