U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Thursday filed papers in Austin to begin organizing her campaign for governor in 2010.
"I am not yet a candidate, but Texas law requires this first important step before an announcement can be made," she said in a statement.
Hutchison has been laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial run virtually since her re-election to the Senate in 2006. But she pulled the plug on a 2004 run out of Republican reluctance to have an internal battle between her and Gov. Rick Perry. The governor, however, has said that he is running for re-election in 2010, setting up a tense dynamic between the two lawmakers.
In her statement, Hutchison takes aim at Perry:
"While Texas is faring somewhat better economically than many other states, a positive future is not guaranteed. It will take leaders who look ahead to meet the economic and budgetary challenges that are coming.
"Texans deserve a governor who, in the context of sound budgetary policies and low taxes, works for quality schools and universities, access to health care for our families, communities safe from crime and drugs, protection of private property rights, sensible transportation and a government that listens and responds to them.
"There's too much bitterness, too much anger, too little trust, too little consensus and too much infighting. And the tone comes from the top. Texans are looking for leadership and results."
If Hutchison resigns her Senate seat in the spring, Perry would appoint a successor and then a few months later, the state would hold a special election to fill out the remainder of her six-year term, which ends in 2012.
Among the potential Republican candidates are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams , Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, Rep. Joe Barton and Rep. Kay Granger.
Democrats interested in the Senate seat include former comptroller John Sharp and Houston Mayor Bill White.
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