WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Perry has been campaigning against Washington, and Washington is returning the favor — no endorsements here.
In the back and forth between Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Perry over gubernatorial endorsements, it’s no contest when it comes to the Texas congressional delegation: It’s Hutchison 10 and Perry 0.
Ten of the 20 U.S. House Republicans have publicly endorsed Hutchison, and insiders say it is unlikely that any of the remaining 10 will endorse Perry, preferring to remain neutral.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, who until now has not said what he would do, told the Star-Telegram that he will not endorse either candidate. "They’re both his friends," Barton spokesman Sean Brown said. "He won’t choose between the two of them."
The three other GOP lawmakers who represent parts of Tarrant County — Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth, Michael Burgess of Lewisville and Kenny Marchant of Coppell — have endorsed Hutchison.
"I am very proud of the members who are supporting me," Hutchison said. "We have a great working relationship. We’re all fighting Washington."
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, referring to his fellow Texas members, said, "I don’t know anyone who’s endorsing the governor.
"He’s been making these comments with broad brush denouncing everyone in Washington. It’s inappropriate."
Members are unhappy with a recent Perry fundraising letter that began: "Let’s be frank. Washington Republicans got us in this mess. They spent like Democrats and created a leadership vacuum that allowed the Democrats to take over Washington."
Perry chief of staff Ray Sullivan added fuel to the fire at a recent Washington lunch with the Texas GOP chiefs of staff, saying, they did not have standing to complain because they were backing Hutchison, said several attendees who asked to remain anonymous.
Poe, like many of Hutchison’s congressional supporters, had a hand in dissuading the Texas senator from challenging Perry four years ago. He became committed to her and, like many Texas politicians, was surprised when the governor ran again, giving Perry 10 years in office by the 2010 election.
Marchant is another member who asked Hutchison to stand down four years ago.
"I told Kay that if she would wait for Rick’s next term, I would help her," said Marchant, who did not anticipate a Perry re-election bid. "After 10 years, I feel it’s time for some change."