DALLAS - Although Gov. Rick Perry's White House run gets a lot of the attention, the biggest Texas race next year is for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
The presumed favorite in the March primary, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, told News 8 that he will serve in the Senate if elected.
While it may sound odd that Dewhurst would even have to make such a statement, there is a reason why. If Perry won the White House and Dewhurst won the Senate seat, Dewhurst could choose to become either governor or U.S. senator.
Dewhurst made the statement while answering a question during a taping of Inside Texas Politics.
"I'm running for the Senate because I want to serve in the Senate," he said.
With more than one million Texans unemployed, job creation will be among the top issues in the Republican Senate primary. Dewhurst hasn't rolled out a specific jobs plan yet, but said he would cut spending and taxes and try to create federal policies to get companies growing.
"You have got to create predictability," he said. "You have got to create a stableness in your business climates. We've pursued a stable business climate where we're not changing the rules every five minutes."
But, in the Republican primary, red meat issues like illegal immigration are also critical. In a break with Perry, Dewhurst said he does not support the state law Perry signed allowing children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition. He said it's a matter of fairness.
"If we're not going to give fellow Americans who live in Louisiana or Oklahoma or New Mexico the ability to come into Texas and have in-state tuition and save, then is it fair to give that break to people who are not citizens here?" he said. "So, I would not have signed that law."
The tuition law got Perry in political trouble. Dewhurst, elected in 2002 after the law became effective, is steering clear of that.
Other candidates in the GOP Senate primary race are former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and Railroad Commission chairwoman Elizabeth Ames Jones.
Dewhurst's interview will air Sunday on News 8 Daybreak during the Inside Texas Politics segment. News 8 Daybreak starts at 9 a.m.