April 19, 2004
Is there anyone here who isn't running for Governor?

Via Kevin, I see that there's yet another Republican name being tossed around as a potential challenger to Rick Perry in 2006: Karen Hughes:

Following her impressive performance on NBC's "Meet the Press" April 4, Bush adviser Karen Hughes's friends and supporters in both Washington and Texas started quietly boosting her for governor of Texas in 2006.

Gov. Rick Perry, who succeeded to the governorship in 2000 when Gov. George W. Bush became president, has indicated he will seek another term. But Perry has many enemies, and the word in Texas political circles is that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison could challenge him for the Republican nomination.

Conservative activists do not consider Hughes one of them and are not talking about her for governor. However, Republican insiders who are not fond of either Perry or Hutchison are starting to promote Hughes, a former television journalist who never has run for public office.

This puzzles Kevin:

I'm constantly seeing that "Republican insiders" are not fond of Perry, but they are never named. Whatever his faults, one wonders how GOP "insiders" so dislike a governor who held the line on taxes (see Virginia for the approach he could have taken), who engaged a difficult redistricting battle at some political cost to himself but of definite benefit to the party, and who's pushing property tax reform. I guess that's why I'm just a GOP rambler and not an "insider" eh?

Now, I'm no more of an insider than Kevin, and much less of a Republican, but I am a blogger, so here's a little seat-of-the-pants speculation as to why "Republican insiders" might not like Rick Perry.

1. They just don't. Whoever said this was a rational process? Maybe the "insiders" think he has an annoying laugh, or maybe they're all allergic to Bryl-Creem, or maybe they're all mad because he chose to sit with that slut Janey at lunchtime instead of Cassidy who's been his bestest friend since, like, forever. My point is that pettiness and backstabbing have sunk better politicians than Rick Perry.

2. They're reading the tea leaves, which is to say Perry's generally lousy approval ratings, and are at the least keeping their options open. Polls of Republican voters have shown Perry losing a primary race to Kay Bailey Hutchison, so it's not necessarily just "insiders" who don't much care for him. I suspect you'll learn quite a few names of those "insiders" if KBH announces that she's running for Governor in 2006.

3. Maybe, just maybe, some of them think he's a crappy Governor with misplaced priorities and that all he did last session was push state responsibilities onto cities and counties. I know, I know, the Tooth Fairy is more likely to exist than these hypothetical Republicans, but hey, I said I was speculating.

For what it's worth, I don't believe this theory about Karen Hughes. Maybe if we knew for a fact that Rick Perry was not going to run for reelection in 2006, I could see her explore the possibility. As things stand now, I wouldn't bet on it.

UPDATE: Via Byron, here's one possible "insider" who may not care for Rick Perry: Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst:

Early last year, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick called reporters together to talk up legislation on home insurance.

The event went smoothly until Dewhurst edged past his colleagues and captured the limelight by forecasting a drop of up to 18 percent in insurance rates.

Perry leaned toward Craddick and whispered, "Open mouth, insert foot."

A few weeks later, Dewhurst failed to arrive for a weekly leadership breakfast with Perry, Craddick and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn. There had already been an expression of discomfort from Dewhurst over Perry's decision to invite Strayhorn to the meetings.

Perry vowed to send out state troopers to "drag his ass in here."

At the time, the asides circulated as evidence of the unsettled relationship between the leaders and a reminder that even when officials share goals and advantages such as Republican majorities in the House and Senate personal relationships can be slippery.

Keep in mind that Dewhurst wanted to run for Senate in 2002 but was convinced to go for the Lite Guv job instead. If KBH really doesn't run for reelection in 2006 (whether she runs for Governor or not), expect both Dewhurst and Perry to vie for that job. That's another scenatrio in which you'll find out who does and doesn't like Rick Perry.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 19, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

Actually, yes.

I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce that I will not be seeking the office of Governor for the great state of Texas. I have decided to devote my time to my family, my yardwork and making sure I get my money's worth out of my Bally's Health Club membership.

I want to thank Chuck for the use of this comments section of his blog to clear up the pressing issue.

Posted by: Patrick on April 19, 2004 2:50 PM

Err, isn't Perry the one having an affair with his (male) Secretary of State? I can see how that'd sour Republicans on him.


Posted by: snr on April 19, 2004 3:29 PM

Comptroller Carol Keeton Rylander is going to kick his ass anyway, and Bush is tight with the Rylander family (employs two of her sons). Rylander and Perry spat about once a week, and Rylander usually comes out best.

Posted by: snoopy on April 19, 2004 4:09 PM

SNR: For the record, that rumor has been debunked for some time now. Whatever reasons may exist for "insiders" to dislike Rick Perry, that ain't one of them.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 19, 2004 4:43 PM

That's it. A write in campaign for Patrick is now officially started. He'll run for governor whether he wants to or not...

Posted by: Ron on April 19, 2004 5:26 PM

I think it's pretty obvious...Republicans smell blood in the water, and everybody's jockeying for position for 2006. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Posted by: Alan W on April 19, 2004 7:59 PM