Hutchison transfers millions to gubernatorial account

Removing some doubt about her intentions to run for governor in 2010, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has transferred nearly her entire federal campaign account to her gubernatorial exploratory committee.

Hutchison’s first filing with Texas elections officials shows that the senator had transferred just shy of $8 million from her Senate account to her statewide account, a number augmented by about $32,000 in additional contributions from individual donors. Hutchison only started formally raising money from other contributors in early January, according to a release from her campaign, after the reporting deadline had passed. The committee ended the year with almost $7.9 million in the bank.


Should she decide to enter the race, Hutchison would face a tough primary against Gov. Rick Perry (R), who will likely seek a third full term in office next year.

Perry has already signaled that he will not let Hutchison skate through the primary, questioning her accomplishments in the Senate while trying to tag her with the poisonous label of “Washington insider.” Perry allies have whispered that Hutchison might not be committed to the race after she backed out of running for governor in 2006.

Hutchison's transfer to the gubernatorial committee appears aimed at assuaging doubts about her interest in a serious race. Allies largely see Hutchison as the frontrunner in a matchup against Perry, citing what they call “fatigue” with the governor who has served since President Bush resigned in 2001.

Hutchison is still determining whether to resign her seat in the Senate sometime this year, a move that would allow Perry to appoint a temporary replacement and would trigger a special election.

Hutchison's fellow Texan John CornynJohn CornynO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke debate showdown Live coverage: Cruz faces O'Rourke in Texas debate showdown MORE, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, raised the possibility of convincing his senior colleague to keep her seat, and thus spare the committee the expense and risk of a special election, until the primary, in 2010.