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Hutchison to Retire in 2012, Expects to Run for Governor in 2010

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who cruised to re-election last year, will not seek another six-year term in 2012 and could resign her seat in 2010 to run for governor, The Associated Press is reporting this morning.

In an interview with Texas Monthly magazine that is cited by the wire service, Hutchison confirmed her plans for a 2010 gubernatorial run and said resigning her current term early would be the right thing to do.

“’Is it better for Texas for me to leave early and give someone else a chance to start building seniority before the class of 2013? I think it probably is,” Hutchison said, adding: “It’s too early to be gearing up. I don’t want to peak in 2007 for a 2010 race.”

Hutchison won handily last year over attorney Barbara Ann Radnofsky (D). Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is up this cycle and is favored at this point, although Democrats are high on Mikal Watts, a wealthy San Antonio attorney who is running against state Rep. Rick Noriega in the Democratic primary.

If Watts can beat Noriega, the favorite of grass-roots Democrats, many Democrats believe his personal fortune would allow him to compete with Cornyn in Republican-leaning Texas.

Hutchison thought seriously of challenging Gov. Rick Perry for the GOP gubernatorial nomination last year but eventually decided to stay put. Perry has not disclosed his plans for 2010.

Hutchison would be able to transfer most of her Senate campaign funds to a gubernatorial race.

— David M. Drucker

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