Schedule gets demanding for senator running for governor nomination

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by BRAD WATSON / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on December 7, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 8 at 5:21 AM

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison filed to run for the Republican nomination for governor Monday, brushing away any doubts raised by her rival, Gov. Rick Perry.

But, can she handle the juggling act created by such a demanding campaign?

Staying in the Senate means her campaigning will be hampered at times when she's due back in Washington, which was evident over the weekend.

She flew between North Texas and Washington five times, logging nearly 6,000 miles.

Hutchison then crossed the state Monday, making trips to Austin, near Fredericksburg and Fort Worth before returning to Washington.

And while she was able to speak to the Texas Farm Bureau convention after all, her hectic schedule meant a shortened appearance.

“Let me just tell you that I cannot give you the full speech," she told members.

She explained she needed to rush back for health care votes.

“But our vote is at 3:30, so that means I have to leave immediately," she said.

Monday was a big day for Hutchison. She filed to run for governor in the Republican primary and signed the papers at state party headquarters in Austin. She criticized the performance of education and transportation under Perry.

“They will look at strengthening the Republican party and they will see that I am the candidate who can win," she said.

But, the Perry campaign claims Hutchison then snubbed veterans when she skipped the dedication at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg after the Austin event in favor of campaigning before the Farm Bureau, which has endorsed her.

President George H. W. Bush and Perry both attended.

The Hutchison campaign said weather caused a delay near Fredericksburg, so she flew onto the Fort Worth event she had dropped from her schedule.

Heading for the door after her Farm Bureau speech she claimed she can do both jobs.

"It is not impossible," she said. "I am so pumped about running for governor because I know we need new leadership in Austin. But, I am also committed to killing this disastrous health care bill.”

Her schedule the next three months would tax the physical stamina of any frequent traveler, and Hutchison is 66 years old. A Hutchison spokeswoman said the senator has the energy and will to work hard.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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