AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Kay Bailey Hutchison said Friday she will keep her U.S. Senate seat for now while running for governor of Texas.
Over the past year, Hutchison had said she would step down from the Senate as she challenges Gov. Rick Perry in next March's Republican primary election. However, her aides say she now has decided to hold off resigning until after the primary because of major legislative fights brewing in the Senate, including healthcare reform, the Houston Chronicle reported.
"I am more determined than ever to become the 48th governor of the great state of Texas," the Chronicle reported Hutchison says in remarks prepared for delivery Saturday to the Texas Federation of Republican Women in Galveston. "But at the same time, I must put what's best for my campaign aside and do what is best for our state. That is why I must stay in the Senate while running for the Republican nomination for governor."
A Rasmussen Reports poll released Friday indicates Hutchison, first elected to the Senate in 1993, trails Perry, who first became governor in 2000, 35 percent to 46 percent among Republican voters. Activist Debra Medina garnered 4 percent. Details of the poll weren't given.
The governor said Friday Hutchison was "AWOL," absent without leave, in Washington while directing her energies to running in Texas.
Perry spokesman Mark Milner weighed in, saying: "We appreciate that Senator Hutchison has taken the governor's advice and finally decided to make a decision to stay in Washington. Hopefully this will allow her to be a full-time senator for the people of Texas."