Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s announcement Thursday that she will not seek re-election in 2012 is setting off brisk business for political consultants from Austin to Washington. The sheer depth of the GOP bench is impressive, creating a “release the hounds!” moment the state hasn’t seen in decades, and has never seen on the GOP side. I published a short list of major Republican candidates yesterday, and Allahpundit ran a similar list with a bit of handicapping thrown in. State Sen. Florence Shapiro and Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert should be added to the lists. This race for Hutchison’s Senate seat will set off a domino effect, as statewide officeholders, congressmen, state senators and perhaps state representatives and a mayor vie for the open seat. On the GOP side, we’re going to need an app to keep track of all the players. Some enterprising political social media company will probably have one built within a week.
On the Democratic side, more disappointment: Bill White, their nominee for governor in 2010, is out. That leaves Chris Bell, who proved he can lose a statewide race in 2006, and John Sharp and maybe Tony Sanchez, whose awful 2002 race made history. Why not toss Farouk “Is On Fiyah!” Shami into the mix as well? All have run statewide campaigns, and all have lost statewide campaigns. There’s no reason to think 2012 will be any different for any of them.
Update: Oops, I forgot Kinky Friedman. The Senate race gives the musician-writer-independent-Democrat another chance to sell cigars (which are actually pretty good; here’s my recommendation). So pencil him in until he says otherwise.