Senator Hutchison to resign in the fall to run for Texas governor

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRE) - U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison says she plans to resign from the Senate this fall to challenge fellow Republican Rick Perry for governor in 2010. She is expected to formally declare

That disclosure's drawing fire from Perry's campaign. That also sets the stage for what will be a crowded race to replace her.

Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner says Hutchison is breaking a promise by not remaining in the Senate for her full term, which expires in 2012.  He accused the senior senator from Texas of putting "her own political ambitions over the needs of the people of Texas."

But he says Perry is prepared for her challenge.

Texans for Kay Press Secretary Jeff Sadosky released the following statement today:

"People expect elected officials to do their job, unfortunately Rick Perry hasn't done his, and that's exactly why we need a new governor.

"In the past eight years Perry has raised taxes on business, tried to seize 500,000 acres of private land, proposed new tolls on our roads and supported higher taxes on gas and even tea.  Texas is facing the second highest high school dropout rate in the nation, the region's highest utility costs, and the nation's highest property taxes.  Perry dug a massive hole in the state's budget and then used federal stimulus money to cover it up. And he's single-handedly shrunk the Republican party.  Texas can do better.  And with Kay Bailey Hutchison they will.

"Rick Perry should do the right thing for Texas and stop his quest to be governor for life. But if he stays in this race, and continues to put personal ambition ahead of the people, then Kay Bailey Hutchison will resign her seat this fall when the time is right for Texas.  The stakes for Texas and the Republican Party are too high."

Politicians looking at running for Hutchison's Senate seat, including Houston Mayor Bill White and former Comptroller John Sharp as Democrats, and among the Republicans there are Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones, Michael Williams, state Sen. Florence Shapiro and former Secretary of State Roger Williams.