With the Belo Debate set for Friday night, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rick Perry and Debra Medina are preparing for what will be their final joint appearance before the Republican primary.
Leading up to Friday, we're looking at the personal stories behind each of the candidates. For Hutchison, it's a job she's wanted for a long time.
After thinking of running in 2002 and 2006, this is Hutchison's first formal try for governor. It's a role she is filling naturally, according to Paul Burka, who has written about her for years for Texas Monthly magazine.
"I think it's part of their makeup; I think it's part of their DNA to be in front of people to try and win their approval," Burka said.
Hutchison has known many “firsts” since graduating from the University of Texas law school:
- first female TV reporter in Texas
- first Republican woman elected to the Texas House
- first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate
But after accumulating all that power in Washington, Hutchison told Burka once she wants to give it up "because Texas needs a grownup for governor."
"There is absolutely no love lost between her and Gov. Perry," Burka noted.
After bringing home federal money for military bases, the Trinity River project and brokering the repeal of the Wright Amendment at Love Field, Hutchison wants more.
"I think she has always been frustrated in the Senate," Burka said. "It really has not been rewarding for her."
Ironically, Perry tries to make Hutchison's record of winning federal dollars for Texas as rewarding for him, by labeling her a "big spender."
Hutchison, a woman of big ambition, is trying for another first: First senator elected Texas governor since 1956.
"I think she longs to be out on her own, where she can show what she can do and do things for Texas in a different way," Burka said.