After taking heat for being "invisible" while Governor Rick Perry rallied liberty-loving Texans with talk of secession and tax parties, Kay Bailey Hutchison declared today at Dallas County Republican Party Headquarters that she and not the governor stands poised to "rejuvenate" the Texas GOP. "That's exactly why I'm running for governor," she said.
Gosh, that sure sounded like a formal announcement, not just the tease of one to come later this summer. Notsomuch, reiterated the lawmaker and her camp. Despite her declaration that she's raised $6.7 million to Perry's $4.2 million -- she took issue with the governor's claim that he raised that sum in just 10 days, saying "we both had six months" -- Hutchison said repeatedly that her "official announcement" would be made in August. That's most likely because she's trying to straddle the line between being "invisible" while Perry stumps the state and appearing to abandon her national post for her statehouse bid.
Hutchison, introduced at the press conference by former House majority leader Dick Armey, dismissed current polls showing Perry with a lead. "I've seen other polls -- internal polls -- that show I'm ahead," she said. "I know I'm ahead, and I know we're gonna win."
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She also derided his camp's assertion that she's a creature of Washington and not of Texas.
"I'm just as anti-Washington as he is and I'm doing something about it," she said, referring to her fight against the Democrats' public insurance option and cap-and-trade policies. "The governor can talk; I'm gonna deliver."
After naming a laundry list of goals, from lowering taxes and reforming the Texas Department of Transportation ("We have an arrogant transportation system in Texas"-) to protecting private property and improving education, Hutchison seemed to back away from promoting divisive right-wing social issues and hearkened back to fiscal conservativism as the way to renew the state GOP in the face of shifting demographics and political winds.
"The question is, are we going to be a party that broadens our base or narrows our base?" she said, emphasizing Texas' low tax rate, right-to-work policy and hospitable business climate as the way forward. "We must be a party that reaches out."