February 02, 2005
Bonilla is in if Hutchison is out

Rep. Henry Bonilla will run for Senate if Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison does not.

The announcement, during an interview with a Lubbock radio station, is the first GOP shot fired in what is expected to be a free-for-all to fill the seat that Hutchison has held since 1993, when she won a special election to replace Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, a Democrat.

Hutchison has yet to rule out a gubernatorial bid, fueling speculation about who will run to succeed her in the Senate.

"If she makes a decision on her own to move on, then I am in that race - no ifs, ands or buts," Bonilla, R-San Antonio, said on the Jane Prince Jones Morning Show on KFYO in Lubbock.

Bonilla is one of several Republicans in Congress eyeing the Senate seat. He used today's interview on KFYO in Lubbock to jump ahead of the potential field of hopefuls.

"All the stars are aligned. It's time to go for it," Bonilla told the San Antonio Express-News.

Former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Tom Loeffler, a former Republican congressman from San Antonio, will play a role in the campaign, Bonilla said.

"Phil Gramm is my co-pilot on this. He's coming off the bench and has been very encouraging," Bonilla said.

Boy, nothing says "Forward Thinking In The 21st Century" like Phil Gramm and Tom Loeffler.

In addition to Bonilla, other members of Congress mentioned as possible Senate candidates include Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, and Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas.

Political observers say Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, and former U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans also are potential candidates. Houston attorney Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Democrat and partner in the Vinson and Elkins law firm, announced on Jan. 10 that she is a candidate for the Senate seat.

Other Democrats mentioned as possible candidates include Ron Kirk, a former Dallas mayor who ran for U.S. Senate in 2002, and former Rep. Ken Bentsen of Houston.

I'm beginning to wonder where former Rep. Jim Turner is going to wind up. We know what Chris Bell is aiming for; the speculation about Turner had always been for a Senate run. Who knows?

More from Ken Rodriguez. Almost as interesting to me is the speculation over who would run to replace Bonilla. Jaime Castillo floated a few names a couple of weeks ago, but I'd expect to hear more of that now. And I'd still like to see State Rep. Richard Raymond take a shot at it.

The Chron picks up the story today. This quote from Our Only Governor is just too precious for words:

"I feel like that those in Washington, D.C., should stay focused on helping Texas up in Washington, D.C.," Perry said. "Helping Texas is what we're all about. And the best way to do that, from my perspective, is for him (Bonilla) and all the other congressional delegation to stay there and do a great job for Texas."

Translation: "Why can't you all just be happy with what you've got? I'm happy with what I've got. Be more like me!"

Greg riffs on the need to make serious challenges in every race. I feel pretty confident that Barbara Radnofsky will put in the time, money, and effort to make a serious challenge, but as a first-time candidate with (so far) little name recognition, her climb is steeper than most. Hell, her officially-announced candidacy for the Senate didn't even warrant a throwaway mention in a story on who may or may not be running for the Senate produced by her hometown paper (the Express-News at least acknowledged her existence), which is as good an illustration of the challenge before her as anything. There's much work to be done, that's for sure.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 02, 2005 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Apparently Phil and co are the people who need a bridge to the 21st Century. It'll have to be a pretty long bridge, since it needs to start in the 19th...

We'll call it the Phil Gramm Memorial Bridge to the 21st Century. That has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: Michael on February 2, 2005 10:13 AM

The "Phil Gramm Memorial Bridge to the 21st Century"?

Doesn't he have to die first?

Just askin'

Posted by: CrispyShot on February 3, 2005 7:57 AM