Do not underestimate Rick Perry. The cover of Texas Monthly a couple of months ago shows Kay Bailey Hutchison in gym garb practicing on a punching bag bearing Perry’s likeness. The media and pundits are excited to see Hutchison land some good hooks on the Governor. But it’s Perry who knows how to throw punches. It has been a long time since Hutchison has had a contested primary. Perry is a pro, and more importantly, he has a history of being underestimated. He was underestimated when he ran for Agriculture Commissioner, for Lieutenant Governor, and against Sanchez in 2002. The reason: He is the Pittsburgh Steelers of Texas politics. The game isn’t pretty. At the end of the game both sides are bloodied, but the Steelers have more points.
Look at the 81st regular session. In the final analysis, what happened? Property tax cuts? Landowner protections? Not much if any of either. Yet he comes out smelling like roses because of what he did not do — true to form for an official claiming to favor limited government. He did not push HPV; he did not beat legislators over the head with CDAs when they said no thank you in the special. And most important, he didn’t take the bait from the Obama administration in order to get more HR money. His TEA-partying and Washington badmouthing are music to likely primary-voters’ ears. Hutchison needs their votes to win. If she wants to win, she shouldn’t wait until her “formal announcement” to start trying to get them.Kay Bailey Hutchison showed the first signs that she actually is interested in winning the governor’s race. It started with her finally saying explicitly that she’s in it.
“I’m running for governor because I want results, not politics,” she told reporters and supporters at the Dallas County Republican Headquarters.
Of course, her announcement could not come without a veiled slam on Gov. Rick Perry, about whom her campaign has said pretty much everything is “politics.”
This is the first sign of fight from Hutchison herself. At the beginning of the year, much was made of the fact that Hutchison would be able to fundraise during the legislative session, whereas Perry couldn’t until after the veto period following the regular legislative session concluded. But while one candidate may have done all the fundraising, the other candidate did much more of the talking. From his inaugural address, in which he slammed the irresponsible fiscal policies of “Washington” (read “Hutchison”), Perry used the session on several occasions to differentiate himself from the Lone Star State’s senior U.S. senator — a fact for which he can be faulted about as much as Hutchison can be for raising money when Perry couldn’t.
Read the whole article for a good run down on what is happening with Rick and Kay.