Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
* Now at the new Rick Perry vs World

Friday, March 25, 2005
Term limits made her do it?
R.G. Ratcliffe in the Chron:
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's decision on whether to challenge Gov. Rick Perry in the GOP primary next year may rest heavily on whether she keeps a promise she made 13 years ago: to serve no more than two full terms in the Senate.


Hutchison made her promise in television ads and personal statements in 1994, and on election night she said:

"I've always said that I would serve no more than two full terms. This may be my last term, or I could run for one more. But no more after that. I firmly believe in term limitations and I plan to adhere to that."

Paulitz said Hutchison has not wanted to say anything before the current session of the Texas Legislature ends May 30.

"She has made every effort to avoid discussing policy differences during the legislative session because she wants the session to be successful," Paulitz said.

Hutchison has been making numerous public appearances around Texas in recent weeks. Her official federal campaign committee has a series of fund-raisers scheduled, including one Wednesday in Houston. Hutchison could transfer money from her federal account to a state race for governor.


She made term limits a major promise of her 1994 re-election campaign and included it in television commercials produced by David Weeks of Austin. Weeks now works for Perry's campaign.

Term limits were a popular Republican campaign issue in 1994, serving as a centerpiece of Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. Term limits also were one of the first agenda items dropped by Republicans once they gained control of the U.S. House.

The issue remains popular with voters, though, said Houston term limits activist Clymer Wright.

Wright noted that in 1994, San Antonio voters rejected an effort to relax term limit restrictions on their city council.

"If she ends up running for re-election just because she doesn't believe she can beat an incumbent governor — which I don't believe she can — then that's bad on both fronts," Wright said.
I don't know if I'd say term limits are "popular" with voters. There may be a plurality who favor term limits, but it's hardly the proximal factor in a voter's decision. In fact, this was the first I'd heard that KBH had taken a term limits pledge.

UPDATE: The Ratcliffe story is fortuitous for KBH. It's something that
would come out eventually, so why not now? It's a win-win for the
Senator either way. If she runs for guv against Perry, then she's keeping her word.
If she runs for Senate, the term limits pledge won't matter. She'll be easily re-elected.

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