Sen. Hutchison prepared to resign this year

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) on Wednesday said for the first time that she is prepared to resign her Senate seat in October or November, paving the way for a May 2009 special election to replace her.

Hutchison, who would resign her seat in order to focus on campaigning for governor, said in a radio interview with a Dallas-Fort Worth station that she couldn’t stay in office and wage the kind of campaign she wanted.

“I am trying to do everything that I can while I’m in office to responsibly serve as a senator, but it is hard because my heart is in Texas,” Hutchison told WBAP 820 AM. “The actual leaving of the Senate will be sometime — October, November, in that time frame.”

Hutchison noted that three years ago she stepped back for Gov. Rick Perry (R), thinking that he wouldn’t run again. She said it’s time for him to step aside.

“I just can’t [stay in office] as long as Gov. Perry’s in the race,” she said. “No one expected him to run again.”

Candidates are already running on both sides, but because of Hutchison’s previous decisions to back out of the governor’s race, a couple major candidates have been hesitant to jump in.

If Hutchison follows through with her resignation, attention on the GOP side will turn to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), who would enter the race as the GOP front-runner and is a favorite of the national party, in large part because of his ability to self-fund.