AUSTIN U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison officially entered the race for Texas Governor Monday morning. She filed her election papers at the Republican Party Headquarters in Downtown Austin.

It puts Hutchison in the March 2 Republican primary against Gov. Rick Perry.

I am the conservative who can keep Texas conservative, Hutchison said. I'm the stronger candidate in the general election and I hope that Republicans will look for the person who will lead Texas for the future; who will address the issues of Texas; and who will win this race.

Hutchison and Perryhave already been waging campaign wars on the airwaves.

Gov. Perry is trying to raise Sen. Hutchison's negatives. Sen. Hutchison is trying to raise Gov. Perry's negatives, said political analyst Harvey Kronberg of So, even though they're well-known quantities, people are finding out a lot of information they didn't know previously.

Perry filed his election papers on Thursday at the Republican Party headquarters in Austin. He'slooking to clench a third term in the seat. No previous governor has held the office for that long.

In the years to come we need principal conservative leadership with the proven ability to make the tough choices that will keep Texas moving forward, Perry said.

He and Hutchison will compete against other Republican Party candidates in the March party primary.

The winner will face-off in the November general election against the Democratic Party candidate. Houston Mayor Bill White made his candicacy official on Friday and campaigned in Austin over the weekend.

Texas needs to move forward, he said. There's been an outpouring of citizens in this state, over 8,000 e-mails I've gotten just within a period of days, of people wanting new leadership in this state. We need to cut the dropout rate, reduce the barriers to higher education and have a governor who we can trust.

There are several weeks remaining for hopeful candidates to file their election papers. The filing period ends on January 4.

Sen. Hutchison has said she will hold on to her Senate seat through important legislative voting. That voting likely won t end until after the March primary.

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