Looks like Senator Hutchison has beefed up her campaign staff.
The Republican senator's spokesman, David Beckwith, would not say what race the new campaign staff is preparing for.
"Whatever she runs for in 2006, it's time to start assembling the campaign team," Beckwith said.
The new campaign manager is Terry Sullivan, who most recently ran the successful campaign for U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, a conservative from South Carolina. Sullivan guided DeMint's campaign through what he described as a "brutal, competitive and heated" Republican primary.
The senator also hired Scott Howell of Dallas to direct the media campaign. Howell has worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign, as well as those of five other Republican senators, including Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
That campaign, against incumbent Democrat Max Cleland, was particularly rough. Cleland, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, was coupled in ads with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Hutchison acknowledged that Perry supporters are preparing for a campaign against her, including questioning her credentials as a conservative, if she runs for governor.
"I have heard that some people will put in whatever it takes to defeat me. But that is of no consequence to me," Hutchison said after speaking at a luncheon sponsored by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Worth Petroleum Club.
Hutchison denied speculation that President Bush or Republicans close to him have attempted to persuade her to stay in Washington rather than creating a party rift by challenging Perry.
"The president ... would not get involved," she said.