Houston Mayor White will weigh switch to governor's race

Houston Mayor Bill White announced Monday that he will consider changing races from Senate to governor, and he will decide by the end of next week.

The Democrat will weigh the switch as expectations for a special Senate election are in limbo. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) was supposed to resign her seat this year in order to focus on her primary against Gov. Rick Perry (R), but she has now said she won’t resign until after the primary.

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That has delayed a race in which White and several other candidates had already been preparing campaigns. Now, with some speculating that Hutchison might not be resigning at all, White may be opting for the sure thing in 2010.

“Since Friday a week ago, Texans from all backgrounds have asked me to consider running for Governor of Texas,” White said, according to KHOU-TV. “I agree to consider running for that office and will make a decision by Friday, Dec. 4."

White’s announcement came the same day businessman Tom Schieffer, the brother of CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, dropped out of the Democratic primary and urged White to run. Tom Schieffer had been seen as Democrats’ best hope before his departure, and many asked if the exit had something to do with White’s plans.

White seemed to acknowledge Monday the odd situation Hutchison put her would-be successors in.

“Sen. Hutchison has postponed her departure from the Senate and acknowledged that her continued service limits her ability to campaign in our state,” White said. “I share her belief, and that of her supporters, that we need a new governor.”

White’s entry into the race for Perry’s seat would help Democrats in that race, even as it may rob them of their leading potential candidates in the Senate race.

Former state Comptroller John Sharp is still running on the Democratic side in the latter race, and he has self-funded $3.1 million of his $3.8 million in receipts so far this year. White showed more of a knack for raising money, bringing in more than $6 million, with $1.4 million of that coming from the candidate.