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December 09, 2008

Democrat eyes Hutchison seat

The last Democrat to win statewide elected office in Texas, former state Comptroller John Sharp, is already announcing his run for GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat. 

Hutchison opened an exploratory committee last week in preparation for a gubernatorial bid in 2010, and most operatives expect her to resign her seat before then.  If she stepped down from the Senate, an early special election would be held.

Houston Mayor Bill White is another potential Democrat looking at the Senate race.

More from the Dallas Morning News:

Former Comptroller John Sharp announced Monday that he will run to succeed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who could resign next year to challenge the Republican governor.

Mr. Sharp, a moderate Democrat and political veteran, said he will file the paperwork Jan. 1 to begin raising money for the race...

On Monday, Mr. Sharp, 58, served notice he intends to seek the seat whenever it opens.

"I will be a candidate whether the election is in 2012 or any time before then," Mr. Sharp said. "Texans face tough challenges that call for innovative solutions, and that’s what our campaign is all about."

Mr. Sharp is a pro-life Catholic with potential appeal to rural and suburban voters who are among the state GOP’s most reliable voters in recent elections. He has long been seen as the Democrat best positioned to win a statewide race, though he lost bids for lieutenant governor in 1998 and 2002. The latter came against Republican David Dewhurst, a potential GOP candidate for Ms. Hutchison’s seat.