Hutchison officially launched her bid for the governor's mansion at her old high school in La Marque. I caught up with the senator in a speech in Bellaire. She called incumbent Rick Perry a dedicated public servant who loves Texas, but...
"After ten years of Perry as governor, where are we?—Property taxes...highest in the country, state debt...doubled, tuition...sky rocketing, drop out rates...among the highest, uninsured children...leading the nation, private property rights...at risk. Ten years is enough. We can do better." (applauses)
Hutchison said there are five areas that she will focus on as governor: fiscal policy, education, transportation, access to health care and government reform. She also proposes limiting governors to a pair of four year terms. George Edwards is distinguished professor of political science at Texas A&M University. He expects Hutchison and Perry to come out swinging.
"I do. Both candidates are formidable on the stump; both candidates are well financed; both candidates have substantial support, and since they are appealing to essentially the same group of people—meaning mostly republicans. They'll be picking each other apart to appeal to that group, rather than drawing the major distinctions of public policy that might occur among all Texans."
Austin political consultant Bill Miller calls the republican campaign for governor high acrimonious, very stressful, and says the true blood hasn't been spilled in the race yet.
"The question is who will go on the attack first? How long will they stay there and how severe will it be? And I expect both of them to be there at the end. But it's gonna be a blood bath and anyone that expects anything other than that, really doesn't know the combatants."
Like A&M political science professor Edwards, Miller says the two will spend every penny that have and whatever else they can raise to fight the campaign against each other.
"The fall race against whatever democrat may be on the ballot is far removed, because this battle is focused against each other, and they're gonna spend everything that they have, and everything they can borrow and everything they can gather."
Not since Ann Richards has there been such a hotly contested race for Texas governor. Miller says Perry and Hutchison are two people that want that office and plan to win the race to get it.
"They're both used to winning. Hutchison and Perry both have got track records of being successful, and their position is I'M NOT GONNA BE DENIED, and they'll do whatever it takes."
PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.