Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Could Specter switch affect Texas governor's race? To whose benefit?

Today, Pa. Sen. Arlen Specter changed from the Republican to the Democratic Party, in order to avoid a possible loss to Pat Toomey in the Republican primary and improve his chances for retaining his Senate seat by winning as a Dem. in the general.

If Dem. Al Franken is declared the winner in the Minn. senate race, the switch by Specter will give the Democrats the 60 seats for a filibuster-proof majority. Minn. Republican Norm Coleman is appealing his case to the state Supreme Court; arguments may be heard in about a month.

Experts think that Franken will eventually prevail, making it imperative that Kay Bailey Hutchison stay in her seat to prevent the 60 seat majority, in case a Dem. might win in a special election for her Texas senate seat--given the situation before the Specter switch.

Gov. 39% would blame KBH for the 60-seat Dem. advantage in the gubernatorial campaign, if she resigned to concentrate on the governor's race and the Dems took the seat. However, if Franken is declared the winner, and with Specter switching, the Dems will already have their 60, thus placing this beyond the control of KBH. Not her fault!

If the experts are wrong, and Coleman wins the Minn. seat, or if no winner is declared for several months, the pressure stays on KBH to remain and not take the chance of losing that seat. With Perry's recent publicity-hound antics, she may be hoping to get to Texas soon to make more of a presence here herself. On the other hand, she may think that when your opponent is making a fool of himself, the best strategy is to get out of the way and let him do it.

The Dallas Morning News has taken away one of Perry's big issues--that KBH is part of the culture of DC, reporting, "Perry regularly rails against Washington, D.C., but when it comes to campaign cash, he has raised far more than rival Kay Bailey Hutchison from the nation's capital. Perry has collected $2.7 million from Washington since becoming governor — four times more than Hutchison's $670,000 from Washington during the same period, a Morning News analysis found."

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