Matt Lewis
It’s officially unofficial ... until its official ...

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) called a press conference Monday to announce her plans to officially announce that she is running for governor in August. 

Why call a press conference to announce you’re going to announce a month later?  Isn’t this something the campaign manager or communications director could have done?

Perhaps the need for campaign coverage answers the question.  KBH’s relevancy has been steadily decreasing (she's trailing by 12 points according to the two most recent statewide polls) over the course of the last six months -- so it's hard to fault her for wanting to get in front of a camera.  The problem, though, is that this press event has drawn poor reviews. 

On top of that, when it comes to fundraising, she is clearly losing the expectation game, as well.

From the Dallas Morning News’ Christy Hoppe:
“If Texas politics was a game about who has more money in the bank, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison would be leading.

But in the expectations game played by Wall Street, those on blind dates and politicians, she's trailing Rick Perry in the GOP primary race for governor.

She started out the year with a six-month head start to raise money, while Perry was tied up with the Legislature and prohibited from taking contributions. In January, she had a 20-point lead in some polls.

But that juggernaut has transformed itself into a maybe not.

Hutchison's problems were highlighted Monday.

Expectations were that Senator Hutchison would have raised $10 million dollars during the first six months of 2009.  Instead, she raised just $6.7 million.

Perry, who had just nine days to raise campaign cash, came in at $4.2 million. (It’s important to know that in Texas the governor cannot raise money while the Legislature is in session).

What is more, according to the Dallas Morning News, Hutchison, "... intimated Perry had committed a crime, suggesting he was laying the groundwork for his contributions during the session. She offered no proof.” Or as the Senator put it, “[Perry] was getting commitments all through the session because I know where the meetings were.”

The charges drew a swift response from Perry Campaign spokesman Mark Miner, who said of Hutchison: “She looked into the camera and lied to the people of Texas. The governor did not do that at all. It's against the law. She should apologize to the governor and the people of Texas."

And the Dallas Morning News' Christy Hoppe noted:
Yes, the election is nine months out. She's got $3 million more in the bank. She's got higher positive ratings from Republicans and lower negative ones. But this week, most politicians would rather be Perry than Hutchison.” Considering the poll results that are coming out, most voters are choosing Perry than Hutchison too.
The campaign may not be “official” yet -- but the battle most certainly is … and it's only going to get nastier as the months go by.

For KBH to have any relevancy, she is going to have to develop some sort of a message, and right now, her only message is ... just wait till August!

Matt Lewis

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

Be the first to read Matt Lewis' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.