Following weeks of speculation about his political future, Houston Mayor Bill White confirmed yesterday that he plans to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
White made the announcement Tuesday afternoon on his website, www.billwhitefortexas.com.
“I’ll be asking the people of Texas to let me work for them as senator,” White said in a two-minute video posted on the site.
White said his business and managerial expertise will help him deal with the critical issues facing Texas and the nation.
“What I’ve heard from people throughout the state that I’ve been visiting with is a concern about the economy, and that we have people in DC who can deal with issues that are complex and who have some business experience,” he said.
White, who is serving his third and last term as Houston’s mayor, will enter what is expected to a large field of candidates. White will run as a Democrat and will face former Democratic Comptroller John Sharp in the Democratic primary.
Other contenders include Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, a Republican, who also announced his candidacy on Tuesday. Former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, also a Republican, previously said he intends to run.
Two other Republicans, State Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano and former railroad commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, are also widely expected to join the race.
Whether the special election even happens depends on Hutchinson resigning her Senate seat early to challenge incumbent Rick Perry in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Hutchinson has formed an exploratory committee and said she is “preparing to run” for governor. Perry has also announced he will seek another term.
If Hutchinson ultimately decides not to challenge against fellow Republican Perry, the special election will likely be a moot point. Hutchinson’s current term does not end until 2012.