Paul Burka keeps up the pressure on Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison to “put the issue to rest with an unequivocal commitment” as to whether she will actually resign her Senate seat and campaign full-time against Gov. Rick Perry in the 2010 Republican primary.
For some reason, it is very hard for Hutchison to commit herself. That is why the campaign continues to be a string of daily one-liners that lacks a coherent message.
Hutchison has committed to resign in the final weeks prior to the filing deadline, perhaps as late as Dec. 28 through Jan. 4. The key reason for waiting to resign is to force Perry into a politically difficult choice of setting the special election concurrent with the uniform date in May, or declare an emergency and set a date as early as 37 days after the vacancy is created.
The waiting is forcing Hutchison into a difficult position of her own, but at least for her, it should be over months before the March 3, 2010, primary. The question for her campaign is whether she can weather the withering attacks between now and the end of the year. If Burka keeps this up, the damage is likely to be so extensive, it will take a cadre of purse boys and tons of refrigerated makeup to put her good face forward in time to win over the GOP primary voters.
UPDATE: Dave McNeely summarizes the logistics behind the possible special election, and the logjam of Republicans wanting to move up if Hutchison leaves the Senate.
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.
Texas election code requires that lower-level public officials must resign in order to run for a higher office; however, there’s no such statute binding Hutchison. She can seek her party’s nomination for Governor, and if nominated, run all the way until November 2010 without vacating her Senate seat. The mayhem such an act would create, as Republicans scurry to file for the last few open offices, may present an opening for Democrats, if we’re poised to take advantage.