The question that national party officials and strategists in Texas posed last week was what will be the galvanizing message of Mrs. Hutchison's campaign.
"I'm not quite sure what the narrative is for her candidacy. What's the compelling case that she would be a better governor than Perry?" asked one of these strategists, who did not wish to be identified because of his position in the Republican national party campaign apparatus.
These strategists, as well as Mr. Perry's own advisers, say her biggest weakness in the race is her identification with Washington which the governor has made the target of his re-election campaign. The governor, who has made a point of attending a number of "tea party" taxpayer protest rallies this year, has been striking a much more populist message lately, one targeted to the party's bedrock conservative base.
Both campaigns will be flush with cash for the battle to come. Mrs. Hutchison has $12.5 million in cash on hand. The governor, who started fundraising late because of the state prohibition on raising cash when the legislature is in session, has $9.35 million in the bank.
"I think he has shored up his support over the last year and her support has slipped a bit, but there are still a lot of undecideds. These are two strong candidates," Mr. Pauken said.
A very good read on the race between Rick and Kay. If you care about this race, go read Lambro's entire article.