7/13/2009 3:04 PM
Perhaps now the Perry campaign can stop wisecracking about how it's not too late for Kay Bailey Hutchison to flake out of the race again. She announced today at the Dallas County GOP headquarters, saying:
"I'm running for governor because I want results, not politics."
She announced that her exploratory committee was officially closed and that the first leg of the campaign for Governor of Texas was starting. She said that a formal statewide announcement tour would happen in August.
She also announced that she has raised about $6.7 million and currently has a total of about $12.5 million cash on hand for the race.
Perry has announced $4.2 million raised since the veto period expired, freeing him to fundraise, and $9.3 million cash on hand. (The remaining question is how wisely the two candidates can spend their respective funds. Can one get more bang for his or her buck than the other?)
Hutchison announced her $6.7 million came from 6,500 donors, whereas Perry announced his $4.2 million came from 1,076 donors.
Hutchison's speech served to lay out what will probably be themes of her campaign as it continues. 1) The primary race is about the identity and strength of the Republican Party in Texas. She indicated that Gov. Rick Perry has served to "narrow the base" of the GOP in Texas, and said the state needs statewide officeholders who will "reach out and bring people in" with dialogue about the ideas and the principles of the party. 2) She pointed to several ongoing problems in the state, including the highest property tax rates of any state in the nation, and the highest dropout rates, utility and insurance rates "among the highest in America," a department of transportation that she described as "arrogant," and insufficient property rights protections. (She did, however, praise the lack of an income tax and the fact that Texas is a right-to-work state -- neither of which Perry can take credit for.)
She also responded to the long running criticism from the Perry camp that Hutchison is "Washington," and would bring Washington's liberal big-government policies home to roost in Texas.
Kay's response: Perry's all talk, and she is walking the walk. "I'm as anti-Washington as he is and I'm doing something about it," Hutchison said. "I'm not talking, I'm doing." (She will still have to explain why she voted for the $787 billion HR 1 bill, the so-called "stimulus" package that has been criticized left and right by fiscal conservatives and pundits who view basically as a huge spending bill that does anything but stimulate private sector economic activity.)
"The weak finance numbers by the Senator continue to show a campaign in disarray," said Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner. He continued: "It's certainly not a good investment to have spent $2.2 million and drop 25 points," referring to a February 2009 poll showing Perry trailing Hutchison by 25 points -- a lead that recent polls indicate have now evaporated.
Asked about those recent polls, which indicated a 12-point lead for Perry in the primary, she argued that the two polls are really just one poll, that they were done in the same time period by the same people. Further, she said she did not agree with the results of the polls, having seen polls herself that indicated she was leading the race. She also said that there are many undecided likely voters in the race because her campaign had not yet started. Now it has.