The Republican primary for Hutchison's Senate seat is only 14 months away, so you'll likely see second tier candidates show some interest right away. That's according to Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones, who says heavyweights like Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst will probably wait a while to go public with their intentions.
"May not be until July or August that Dewhurst firmly commits one way or another, and because of his wealth, he doesn't have to worry about fundraising. He can start his fundraising in August or September where others would have to start much earlier if they were to have a competitive candidacy."
Jones says he doesn't expect Republicans to have any trouble filling Hutchison's seat. He says a candidate like Dewhurst could discourage Democrats like Bill White or John Sharp from even running.
"If Dewhurst runs, then a lot of the more serious candidates may just decide to take a pass just because given Dewhurst's statewide name recognition, his popularity as well as his vast personal fortune, he's a pretty difficult candidate to beat."
Hutchison will finish her third 6-year term next year. The 67-year-old says she's ready to live full-time here in Texas again.