Keeping Her Seat

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said she’d leave the U.S. Senate after her campaign for Governor. But after she lost the Primary Election,  the Senator laid low, leaving many to wonder if she’d really leave or she’d continue her term. This morning, Senator Hutchison announced she would not leave the Senate, a move applauded by both Republicans and Democrats.

At a ten minute press conference (during which she did not take questions from reporters), Hutchison said she would not abandon her seat because of the state of the country. “It has caused me to look at the resignation in a different way. … For the long-term, it’s better for my children that I stay.” You can see her press conference here. You can also read an open letter she wrote to Texans here.

Fellow Republican Senator John Cornyn (who also chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee) was rumored to have asked his fellow Texan to stick around said today, “Now is the time to ensure that we have the best public servants in Washington. She is a valuable member of the United States Senate and an extremely effective Senator for the State of Texas. She did what was in the best interest of our state and country and I look forward to working with her in the fight to make Washington more like Texas.”

John Sharp, who had hoped to run for Hutchison’s seat said, “I hope she’s learned what I’ve learned from this experience which is people are sick and tired of business as usual and the bitter partisanship of Washington DC . It is time to put the country ahead of both political parties.”

Her former ally-turned opponent (and now ally?), Governor Rick Perry said, “I am pleased that Sen. Hutchison has decided to complete her term in the Senate and remain in the fight against Washington’s imprudent, harmful policies. Her experience will be crucial to reforming the health care disaster and to holding job-killing cap and trade legislation at bay. Not only will this save millions of taxpayer dollars that would have been needed to hold a special election, but will ensure this Senate seat stays in Republican hands. I remain committed to working with all conservative leaders to uphold our state’s sovereignty from Washington’s intrusion, and maintain the proven principles that have kept Texas strong through these challenging economic times.”

And Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (a Democrat) told us, “I’m gratified, and I want to thank Kay Bailey Hutchison for making that decision which I think is in the best interest of the State of  Texas.  Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, she is very effective we have worked closely together.”

Plenty of kind words from all around. But the skeptic in me wonders how sincere they are. Can the Senator put aside the vicious attacks she lobbed and received during the Primary campaign? With all the partisan bickering in Washington, will she still reach across the aisle and work with Democrats – or has there been so much damage that it will be politics as usual? And if things don’t change, how much longer would Hutchison want to stick around? Time will tell.

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