AUSTIN Election 2008 has barely entered the history books, but scores of candidates are already scrambling toward an even more tumultuous political season in Texas over the next two years.
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has spent months gearing up for a likely run for governor in 2010. That raises the prospect of a bruising Republican primary against Gov. Rick Perry, who has indicated that he plans to seek a third full term.
Resurgent Democrats are also expected to wage a vigorous bid for the post.
The race for Hutchisons seat shapes up as another headliner if she runs for governor. Additionally, top state offices such as lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller will be up for election in 2010, along with congressional and legislative seats that will help determine the balance of power in Washington and Austin.
Fundraising in the next election cycle is expected to surpass records set in 2008 as officeholders in both parties convert Texas into a vast game of musical chairs by trying to switch political jobs.
"If youre a rich Texan, youd better get out your checkbook for 2010," said Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
More than a dozen prospective candidates have been eyeing the Senate race with varying degrees of interest.