Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is challenging Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his job, is planning to keep her US Senate seat until after the state's March gubernatorial primary. Hutchison, a Republican, plans to tell Republican women in a speech in Galveston today that she is stepping down in 2010 because she is needed in Washington to fight against Democratic proposals to limit carbon emissions and overhaul the health care system.
"I realize this will keep me in the Senate past the primary election," a transcript of Hutchison's speech says. "These issues are too important to leave the fight to a newly appointed freshman senator who will be selected in the midst of a political storm." In the speech, she makes it "crystal clear" that she will leave the Senate after the primary regardless of whether she or Perry wins.