The drama continues anew in Texas politics as our token liberal Republican Senator announces that this time she really is going to step down. This will be different than her resignation promises in '07 and '08 and '09 when she was challenging incumbent shoo-in for re-election, Gov. Rick Perry. After loading up her smear machine both to waste Perry's campaign funds and fuel up his eventual Democratic opponent in a futile campaign as a "true Texan" after 16 years inside the Beltway, she reneged again and again.
KBH Announces Retirement in 2012
It is way too early to designate a successor, but the early favorite is current Dallas mayor, Tom Leppert. He's popular, got a great record, loads of business experience and has an organization in place. He's also term limited for his job as mayor. He's already announced his departure come election time. His hat has been edging into the ring for about two years now.
Perry might have been a logical choice, but he has clearly shown an intent to serve his full term as the newly re-elected governor. Additionally he might be leaving his options open for a possible VP selection as the big race heats up. He's been identified as a potential Presidential candidate but that would be a fringe choice and is highly unlikely.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is poised to either take the governor's job should Perry pursue the Senate seat or alternatively make his own run.
The strategic ploy with the most reward here would be for Hutchison to resign rather than simply not seek re-election. Then Perry could appoint the replacement which should be Leppert. This would give him a huge leg-up in fund-raising, name recognition and voter appeal as an incumbent. It takes a lot of jeopardy out of the seat.
That won't happen however, because KBH is too narrow-minded and Perry would be accused of simply appointing a place-holder for his own ambition after a failed presidential bid.
It will be an interesting year and a half coming up.