December 13, 2008
By MATT STILES AND PEGGY FIKAC
The Houston Chronicle
Mayor Bill White has decided to seek the U.S. Senate seat held by Kay Bailey Hutchison, should the two-term Republican resign next year to challenge the sitting governor, the Houston Chronicle has learned.
Ending months of speculation about his political future, White plans to announce his intentions at an event next week, according to several sources close to the mayor.
White declined to confirm his intentions during an interview Friday evening, saying it would be inappropriate to discuss his political future on the day the city buried a police officer. He said he plans to make an announcement next week. . .
The prospect of a special election for a Senate seat could be a tantalizing one for candidates, said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. The 1961 Senate race drew more than 70 percent of the registered voters, he said.
Nor would a surprise winner be unheard of, Jillson said, noting that the late Republican John Tower emerged the winner in 1961.
"Special elections bring out large numbers of people," he said. "They have unpredictable outcomes."
A successful Senate bid would allow White a chance to return to Washington, D.C., and, perhaps, pursue one of his passions: national energy policy. He worked as a U.S. Energy Department undersecretary during the Bill Clinton administration, and as a U.S. House aide on natural gas policy during the 1970s.
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