Will KBH Bow Out For the Good of Texas?

Next Tuesday, Texans will vote in their respective primaries, and all eyes are on the race for the Republican nomination for governor. If no candidate gets 50% of the vote, there will be a run-off between the top two, which will be Governor Perry and Senator Hutchison. Such a run-off will allow Democrat Bill White, who will win the Democrat nomination easily over opponent Farouk Shami, to immediately focus on two things: 1) raising lots of money and, 2) firing shots at Perry, whom White believes will win, while the Governor spends money in a slugfest with Hutchison.

In fact, White has already begun focusing almost exclusively on Perry. According to Gromer Jeffers with The Dallas Morning News, White recently urged democrats to “get ready to defeat the forces of darkness,” and then later clarified through his campaign spokesman that he “was NOT referring to ‘his GOP rivals’ in discussing a post-primary scenario. [He] was referring specifically to Governor Rick Perry, who by all accounts is expected to win the Republican nomination after a difficult primary.”

White’s spokesman then seemed to suggest that Hutchison is more aligned with the Democrat candidate than she is with Governor Perry, saying, “[o]n many occasions Bill has openly said he agrees with Senator Hutchison on her criticisms of Governor Perry, from TexDot, to toll-roads and cronyism. He has also worked closely and effectively with many Republicans including Senator Hutchison.”

To be sure, if Rick Perry does not achieve 50% next Tuesday because wrong-headed Texans vote for a 9/11-truther in Debra Medina (for you nay-sayers, see here), it will embolden Hutchison and prompt 6 additional weeks of campaigning.

But the reality is that Hutchison’s Washington-insider status does not resonate in Texas. She badly underestimated the backlash against her and all those associated with Washington spending and largesse, and as noted by a post by Chris Cilliza at The Fix titled, “What Happened to Kay Bailey Hutchison?”, she cannot even clearly explain why she’s running. And even the Senator herself admits that the stigma of being associated with Washington has negatively influenced voters.

The result is a lagging campaign, leaving her behind in the polls and with dwindling enthusiasm and support on the road.

Senator Hutchison has served Texas for most of her adult life, and I believe she has done so in good faith and because she loves the State. But it’s not enough for her to believe “it’s her turn.” If the Senator does not close the ever-widening gap in the polls and Perry falls just short of 50%, the Senator should nevertheless step aside from the race for Governor, step down from the Senate, as she has repeatedly promised to do thereby making way for a new conservative such as Michael Williams, and retire having served the nation and Texas to the best of her ability. It’s the right thing to do.