Texas Governor Primary: A Postmortem

Rick Perry has governed for over nine years. Kay Bailey Hutchison has been a U.S. Senator for over sixteen.

Perry began in dire straits: it appeared as though Sen. Hutchison could oust him with a 10-15% margin.

Hutchison teetered–to her campaign’s significant disadvantage–on her decision to resign from the Senate or not, and when.

Enter Debra Medina, who gained slowly but steadily in the polls.

Perry organized. “Insider-Outsider”

Hutchison promised not to run for re-election to the Senate, regardless of the outcome of the gubernatorial primary. “Washington-Spoiled Insider-Outsider.”

Medina threatened to overtake Hutchison in the polls and throw the whole race into a runoff. “Outsider.”

Perry regrouped, and took a lead in the polls that he never lost.

Hutchison scrambled to maintain her political clout, but couldn’t gain any ground.

Medina didn’t know how to say “I’m not a 9/11 truther. Period.” And so, she was immediately written out.

It became a question of, will it be thrown into a runoff by the barest of margins? How far will Medina fall from her once-climbing high of ~30%? Can Hutchison successfully rebrand herself in the last weeks?

It turns out the answers to these questions all favored (in the year of the anti-incumbent) the incumbent Governor Rick Perry.

With a comfortable margin (in this race at least) of 2% over the 50-plus-one-to-avoid-a-runoff, Rick Perry has dominated the field. And barring absolute disaster, he will be elected to an unprecedented third full term as Governor of Texas (having already broken the longest-serving record a year and a half ago).

All said, Perry didn’t mess up and both his challengers did–they lost their credibility and it fatally hurt their campaigns. Rick Perry managed to carefully balance his solid conservative (if good ol’ boy) persona with tea party attitude and Texas pride.

Go figure.

(re-posted from 20/10 Blog)