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Texas: Hutchison to Resign; Dewhurst Visits D.C.

On the same day that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) said she plans to resign from the Senate this fall to concentrate full time on her primary against Gov. Rick Perry (R), Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), who has said he would consider running for the Senate if Hutchison resigns, just happened to be in the nation’s capital.

Dewhurst, in Washington, D.C., and Annapolis, Md., this week for a meeting of the National Lieutenant Governors Association, has plans to sit down with National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) while he’s here. Dewhurst is expected to be on Perry’s short list of candidates for the Senate appointment when Hutchison resigns.

“This would be David Dewhurst’s Senate seat if he wants it,— one GOP strategist said. “With the exception of perhaps [state Attorney General] Greg Abbott there would be no candidate in either party better positioned financially and organizationally to win this election.—

But on Wednesday, Dewhurst spokesman Mike Wintemute cautioned not to read too much into the lieutenant governor’s meeting with the Senate GOP’s top campaign strategist for the 2010 cycle.

Dewhurst’s meeting with Cornyn “is in his capacity as [a Texas] Senator not in his capacity as NRSC chairman,— Wintemute said.

Hutchison said Wednesday that she will likely resign in “October, November, in that time frame. That’s what I’ve been saying all along.—

That time frame would mean a special election would take place next May to fill Hutchison’s seat unless Perry decides to call an emergency special election sooner.

While there had been some speculation as to when Hutchison might step down, her resignation ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial primary was expected. A handful of Republicans have already filed to run for Hutchison’s seat, and they will be looking to see who Perry will appoint this fall to fill the vacancy until the special election is held.

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