Kay Bailey Hutchison Calls It Quits

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The three-term Senator from Texas announced today that she won’t seek reelection after-all. From the Houston Chronicle:

In an open letter to Texans, Hutchison said she wanted to live “full-time in Texas with my family” and was “forever grateful for the privilege of working for you in the United States Senate.”

“I intended to leave this office long before now, but I was persuaded to continue in order to avoid disadvantage to our state,” she said.

Her decision may well touch off a Republican scramble for the vacant seat; former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst are likely suspects to jump into the the race, among a handful of others. A retirement in Congress is often a boon for the other party, but some Republicans may actually be sighing in relief. Hutchison, with the Tea Party nipping at her heels and the bruises from her failed gubernatorial bid still fresh, would likely have endured the high-profile bloodletting that comes when an incumbent faces a competitive primary. Now that she’s moving on, the eventual GOP nominee will have a gentler transition to the general election. Former Comptroller John Sharp and ex-Houston Mayor Bill White, another vanquished foe of Rick Perry, are possible candidates on the Democratic side.