Matt Lewis


In a state where everything is bigger, the race to be the Republican nominee for Governor could shape up to be even larger than even Texans are used to. In one corner is sitting Governor Rick Perry while in the other corner is potential candidate Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

For social conservatives, the stakes couldn’t be higher in what could be a gigantic clash of the titans. The first salvo came from Vision America head and pro-life activist Dr. Rick Scarborough who said in a statement:
"Rick Perry has his detractors in Texas and I have been openly critical of some of his positions as Governor, but he is solidly pro-life and pro-family and Texas has prospered under his able leadership.”
“Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is pro-choice, is apparently willing to expose her own Party in Washington to a possible filibuster proof Democratic majority by vacating her seat as US Senator, while simultaneously dividing her Party in Texas with a costly and politically divisive bid to be Governor which is not warranted."
Pro-life Activists in Texas, including Texas Eagle Forum President and RNC Committeewoman Cathie Adams and WallBuilders Founder and President David Barton, are also weighing in on the issue by pointing the differences between Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

An email recently distributed by the two says: “Senator Hutchinson served for many years as an Honorary Advisory Board Member of the WISH List (http://www.thewishlist.org), whose mission is to raise money to identify, train, and elect pro-abortion Republican women at all levels of Government.”

And an accompanying flier notes that, “Governor Perry has always been active in the pro-life movement," and that "Senator Hutchinson supports legal abortion until viability and has called for the removal or weakening of the pro-life plank of the Republican party.”

The biting part is that the flier compares and contrasts John Cornyn and Rick Perry's conservative records versus Kay Bailey Hutchinson -- who is closely compared to President Barack Obama. [# More #]

This is especially cumbersome for KBH when you go to the WISH List website and see Senators Olympia Snow and Susan Collins front and center considering they are two of the GOP Senators siding with Barack Obama on the so-called stimulus plan.

On a recent appearance on FOX New’s "Huckabee," Hutchinson got a closing question of “will you run for Governor of Texas?”  Senator Hutchinson didn’t say "no," but gave a very convincing non-yes answer. Keep in mind, Governor Huckabee and Governor Perry (once close friends) no longer see eye-to-eye after Perry tried to strong-arm Huckabee into dropping out of the Presidential Race after endorsing McCain.

Despite his support of mandatory HPV vaccinations (this move after winning in 2006 angered many conservatives), Perry clearly has social conservatives on his side. And he used the bully pulpit in the recent State of Texas speech to further solidify his standing with the pro-life community.

As Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News recently pointed out, “
Gov. Rick Perry delivered his state of the state address to a joint session of the Legislature as if it were a campaign speech. And it was.”

Tuesday’s speech was a triumph for social conservatives,” added Slater. Or as conservative activist Kelly Shackleford of the Liberty Legal Institute said, “All this stuff, the base really has a passion for.”

Rick Perry is gaining the kind of momentum that could end any hopes Kay Bailey Hutchinson had of becoming the next Governor from Texas…a state where it’s hard to imagine an abortion-rights candidate winning a Republican primary.

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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