Surprising almost no one, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced in San Antonio she will not resign her Senate seat. She'll stay through the end of her term in 2012.
"I certainly intended to leave in the last year, but I also, something has happened in our country that maybe none of us could have anticipated," she said. "It has caused me to look at my resignation in a different way."
Flanked by fellow Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at a private airport terminal, Hutchison explained her decision but did not take any questions. She did not address the ramifications for other Republicans who had been seeking her seat, but did say her decision was a difficult one for personal reasons.
"Certainly for my family it would be better for me to come home," she said. "But the stakes are so high. My experience will be better used fighting this effort of cap and trade and the president trying to do so much that it really is taking away the essence of America."
She and McConnell spent only about ninety seconds in front of assembled press before departing. Cornyn, who had been lobbying Hutchison to stay through the end of her term, applauded the decision.
"I think she's in a key position to have a big impact on important issues," said Cornyn. Hutchison sits on the Senate Commerce Committee and Senate Banking Committee. She also has long had a spot on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, which has made her successful in helping Texas get various grants and funding in the past decade.
Gov. Rick Perry:
“I am pleased that Sen. Hutchison has decided to complete her term in the Senate and remain in the fight against Washington’s imprudent, harmful policies. Her experience will be crucial to reforming the health care disaster and to holding job-killing cap and trade legislation at bay. Not only will this save millions of taxpayer dollars that would have been needed to hold a special election, but will ensure this Senate seat stays in Republican hands. I remain committed to working with all conservative leaders to uphold our state’s sovereignty from Washington’s intrusion, and maintain the proven principles that have kept Texas strong through these challenging economic times.”
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst:
"As I've said in the past, I'm supportive of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison doing whatever she believes is in her best interest and that of her family.
"I'm running for re-election as Lt. Governor, as I announced in early September 2009, focusing on balancing the budget, helping Texans back to work, securing the border, fighting for affordable health care and improving education.
"It's an honor to serve as Lt. Governor. In the future, I will continue to do what is best for Texas."
Boyd Richie, chairman, Texas Democratic Party:
“No one is surprised that Sen. Hutchison is not resigning her seat. We never believed she would leave the Senate, and it’s disappointing that she refused to shoot straight with Texas voters. “The real test for Hutchison is if she will stand by her criticisms of Rick Perry or hypocritically embrace his failed service as Governor.
Roger Williams, now running for Senate in 2012:
"The race for the Senate continues. And no one is more prepared to win than I am. Our campaign has more money, more volunteers and more momentum than anyone else. I have said from the beginning that I would be ready to run a campaign whether it was this year or in 2012. Today, we found out it will be in 2012. And without a doubt, I am ready! I will continue to campaign around the state. And my message will remain the same: lower taxes, less government and more individual freedom. We need to send a business leader to the Senate more now than ever. I am that leader. And we will win. It’s full speed ahead for 2012. I’m in it to win it.”
Former Comptroller John Sharp:
“I certainly enjoyed visiting with Texans for the last year and a half and learning about their concerns as we waited for Kay Bailey Hutchison to resign. I hope she’s learned what I’ve learned from this experience which is people are sick and tired of business as usual and the bitter partisanship of Washington D.C. It is time to put the country ahead of both political parties.”
Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones:
“From the beginning, my plan has been to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 when both the Senator’s and my terms are up. I am happy to announce that nothing has changed with her announcement today. I am grateful for the confidence that Texans have shown in me, which includes, but is in no way limited to, the financial support of over $1 million to help me get ready to run for the U. S. Senate in 2012."
Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams:
“On December 16, 2008, I began my campaign for the U.S. Senate to succeed Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, as she had pledged to resign her seat. Today, Senator Hutchison announced she will not be resigning her seat in the U.S. Senate.
“I have said from the beginning, I will be a candidate for this seat whenever it comes up. The past 15½ months, we have amassed an unparalleled amount of support for my candidacy for the Senate. I ask those tens of thousands who have signed on to help our campaign to be ready to get to work, helping us elect conservatives in Texas and all across America in 2010.
“With cap and trade looming in the wake of the disastrous health care bill that was recently passed, it is more important than ever that Texans band together to explain to the people in Washington how harmful even more government power grabs will be to our economy and our ability to create jobs. I will continue to be a strong voice on these issues.
“The people of Texas who elected Senator Hutchison also elected me to the Texas Railroad Commission. I have an important job to do, guiding the Texas energy industry. While the timeline for this race has been extended, I will continue going about the job I was elected to do: ensuring Texans have abundant supplies of affordable, clean, reliable and safe energy.”