Perhaps the larger narrative of Hutchison is that she has needed to transition from a time when bringing home earmarks for one’s state was considered a basic necessity to a time when earmarks are considered a dirty word. Perry suffered from that dissonance as well, having promised to reject federal bailout money then using them to give benefits to his state’s unemployment rolls. But Hutchison’s Washington connections were too much to overcome, and Perry was seen as the far more conservative choice in a state where being conservative is everything. Topped off with endorsements from Sarah Palin, the NRA, and other big conservative players, and Perry had no trouble maintaining a strong lead throughout the campaign.
Perry’s biggest threat, Medina, faded away after Medina made the comment that she would entertain 9/11 truther conspiracy theories live on Glen Beck’s radio program. She quickly issued a retraction, but the damage was done. The conservatives who were considering Medina rushed back to Perry, and the possibility of Medina siphoning off votes disappeared along with the possibility that Hutchison might enjoy the spoils.