July 30, 2009
By ANNA M. TINSLEY
Sixteen years ago, Kay Bailey Hutchison jumped into a 24-candidate special election to replace Democratic U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who was leaving his Senate seat to become Treasury secretary.
In the end, Hutchison, a Republican, bested 23 others — including then-Gov. Ann Richards appointee Democrat Bob Krueger in a runoff — for the seat and became Texas’ first female U.S. senator.
"Special elections are very interesting . . . where strange things can happen," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
On Wednesday, Hutchison laid the groundwork for a special election to fill her seat, saying she will leave the Senate in coming months to work on her bid for Texas governor. That lets her potential opponent, Gov. Rick Perry, name a replacement until a special election determines who will finish her term through 2012.
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