Skip to comments.Questions Surround (Texas) Lieutenant Governor's Race
Posted on 09/26/2009 12:18:30 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the Senate's presiding officer since 2003, is hankering for the United States Senate seat Kay Bailey Hutchison has said she'll relinquish late this year to concentrate on her Republican primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry. But Dewhurst reportedly grew tired of hearing rumors that Republican Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott would file for lieutenant governor regardless, and announced for re-election. Dewhurst apparently wants to have a fallback position if Hutchison hasn't resigned by the Jan. 4 filing deadline.
"They don't know what's happening," one close observer said of those watching closely to see what Hutchison does.
"My sense is this thing is drifting," said another. "It (her decision) may not come until mid-January."
If the filing deadline passes with no resignation, that would back things up for people like Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who has been taking "a serious look" at a race for attorney general if Abbott seeks another office.
"But it's getting late," said Branch, chairman of the House's Committee on Higher Education. It's hard to file if there's not a vacancy.
"I'm not sure there's going to be a race," Branch said. "I'm hearing that Dewhurst is starting to concentrate on re-election. Abbott, too."
The word from Washington is that Hutchison wants to cast votes on measures like a "cap and trade" pollution control measure, a health care plan, and budget measures -- some of which may not come up until mid-January. Another reason for delay would be to keep Perry from calling an emergency election for her successor before the March 2 primary for state offices. Doing so could create "election fatigue," and dampen turnout in the GOP primary -- which would help Perry. If she stalls into late January, Perry would be unable to call the election before the primary, and it would probably fall on the next regular election day -- May 8, when many jurisdictions have city council and school board elections.
And she may not resign at all. Her term lasts through 2012. "Nobody in Washington thinks she's going to resign, because it doesn't make any sense at all," said one onlooker "Why should she? It would just dry up her fundraising ability." Still, by her indecision, "She's set herself up where she hurts herself -- either way," the observer said.
Dewhurst, has more money than some countries, can just wait and see what happens. He can run for re-election to his current post, and if she does resign early, buck for the interim appointment from Perry. If she resigns and Perry passes over Dewhurst as the interim senator, Dewhurst could still run for re-election and also run in a special election to pick the successor to serve out Hutchison's term.
Then, there's the question of when Perry would call the special election to replace Hutchison if she does indeed resign. After Monday, Sept. 28, it will be too late for the 36-day wait before the next regular election date, which is Nov. 3. Resignation after that, up through the middle of March, would mean Perry could call the special election for the next regular election day May 8. If Hutchison resigns any time before the middle of March, Perry could declare an emergency and call the election for a date earlier than the May 8 regular election date. (State law precludes calling the election to coincide with the primary.)
Perry's secretary of state, Hope Andrade, estimated it would cost around $18 million for a separate special election, and another $12 million or so for a runoff. So if Perry were to set the election for a date other than May 8, the extra cost of the first election would fall on his shoulders, not hers.
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I had been wondering about Dewhurst. He has been awfully quiet ... on many things recently.
At first blush I’d say he would be an improvement over KBH. He was a steady hand in that position, although not as forceful as I may have liked.
Abbott is Lt Governor, I’ll have to think about.
I hope she retires and goes home with all the other RINO’s
This is the first I’ve heard it mentioned that she may not resign from the Senate to run for governor. I thought she had to do so by law. I need to look that up.
LBJ pushed through a change in Texas law in 1960 to allow him to run for VP and for re-election to his Senate seat at the same time. Lloyd Bentsen used "Lyndon's Law" in 1988, when he ran for VP and re-election to his Senate seat at the same time.
As far as I know, there is no requirement that you resign from another elected office to run for Governor in Texas.
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