Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
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Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Mark Davis op-ed in DMN
The emcee of the recent Collin County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner writes in the Dallas Morning News:
You know you're in for an interesting evening when you're talking politics with members of Congress beneath a huge painting of Jock Ewing.

Actor Jim Davis played the Ewing family patriarch on TV's Dallas until his death in 1981. Nearly a quarter-century later, the family home is host to the occasional high-toned political event.

Events don't get much bigger than Saturday night's Collin County Lincoln Day Dinner at Southfork. When county GOP chairman Rick Neudorff asked me to emcee the proceedings a few months ago, the main draw was the keynote address to be delivered by author and pundit Ann Coulter.

But when the speaker list grew to include Gov. Rick Perry and the vastly popular woman who might want his job, my enthusiasm grew, and so did the audience.


But in the only allusion she made to her plans, she finished a statement about President Bush's foreign and domestic challenges with an intriguing promise: "I will be there to help him."

Oh? And for how long?

A gubernatorial race means assembling an organization, plotting strategy and raising money. It will be a little harder to be everywhere a U.S. senator needs to be while running for another job. Ask John Kerry or Bob Dole.


The overwhelming impression I discern from Republicans who like both Mr. Perry and Ms. Hutchison is this: If she still has the fire in the belly for elected office, why not stay right where she is and continue her proud legacy of representing Texas under the U.S. Capitol dome?

"I like Kay in Washington and Rick in Austin, and I don't want to see one of them given the hook back into private life," an e-mailer wrote to me the day after the dinner.

To hear both of them speak is to have an appreciation for what they have done. Ms. Hutchison's combination of grace and toughness has made her an uncommon force in Washington. Mr. Perry's track record now includes the redistricting battle, which deservedly won him waves of new and more passionate fans in his party.

He has earned the right to be regarded as more than just Mr. Bush's lucky successor in Austin. Only the gods of political timing could conjure for him an ironic fate in which he rises to the ranks of the virtually unbeatable, only to face the lone opponent whose star power might bring him down.

I say "might" because I have no idea right now how their primary battle would end up. Ultimately, Ms. Hutchison is entitled to do whatever she likes, but a growing part of me hopes we don't have to find out which would triumph.
I've talked to a few folks (by no means a significant sample size) who will ultimately back KBH if/when she challenges Perry, and while their loyalty is to her, they're uncomfortable losing Sen. Hutchison's seniority in the Senate. Whether this issue resonates beyond a select few...

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