Perry Wins in Texas
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has held the job for nearly a decade, was headed toward renomination Tuesday night after his main challenger, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, conceded defeat in the Republican primary for governor.
Perry had a majority of the votes over Hutchison and a third candidate with about one-third of the precincts reporting. Hutchison had hoped to hold Perry's vote total below 50%, allowing her to face him in a runoff election April 13.
Hutchison told supporters in Dallas that she called Perry when she thought the results were clear. "We have fought valiantly for our principles, but we did not win," she said.
The third candidate, Debra Medina, a conservative running with the support of "Tea Party" activists, was a distant third.
Democrats selected as their nominee for governor Bill White, a former Houston mayor who was deputy secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration. He easily won the Democratic nomination over six other candidates.
White, 55, will face the Republican nominee in the November general election.
Hutchison, 66, a popular vote-getter in the past, was initially seen as an odds-on choice to unseat Perry in the primary and accused the governor of cronyism after holding the job since December 2000. But Perry built a lead in public polls after depicting Hutchison as tied more to Washington, D.C., than Texas.
Perry, 59, a former Air Force pilot, was elected lieutenant governor in 1998, after four years in the state Legislature, and became governor when the incumbent, George W. Bush, was elected president. Perry was elected to a full term as governor in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006.
Hutchison, a former television reporter, became the first Republican woman elected to the state House of Representatives in 1972 and later was elected state treasurer. She won the Senate seat in a special election in 1993, and went on to win three full six-year terms starting in 1994.
Perry drew national attention last April when he addressed a Tea Party rally in Austin, saying Texas might consider seceding from the United States "if Washington continues to thumb their noses at the American people." He quickly scaled back the secession talk in the face of national criticism, but it served to burnish his reputation among conservatives.
Medina, 47, a businesswoman and registered nurse, served as Wharton County's GOP chairwoman but had never run for statewide office before.