Despite the best efforts of two challengers, Gov. Rick Perry handily won the GOP primary last night over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and activist Debra Medina. The race, which turned into a game of “More Conservative than Thou,” ended up in a clear victory for Gov. Perry, who thanks to a decisive 50 percent victory will not have to worry about a runoff election.
Perry, who managed to paint the very popular and well-connected Republican Senator as an overly-moderate “party insider,” declared his win a sign that American conservatism is alive and well, and “never stronger.”
Perry called his win “a very important moment in our party’s history,” coming after wins in governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, and the special Senate election to replace Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts.
“Texas voters, they said no to Washington bureaucrats making decisions that state leaders and citizens should be making themselves,” he said. “They said no to a culture of reckless spending policies that endanger our children’s future.” And he castigated federal legislation on carbon emissions and health care as job killers in Texas.
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“Stop messing with Texas,” he said. “That message resonates. It resonates across our state.”
Bailey Hutchison, who ran for the endorsement despite still serving as senator, was criticized by the party for what was seen as not a firm enough stance on eliminating abortion. Perry’s other challenger, Medina, was a Republican Party activist who ran on a “social values” platform (the Christian Right’s social values, of course), including an unswerving anti-choice stance, an enthusiastic desire to eliminate all gun laws, and determined belief that Texas’ state’s rights should be put before any federal concerns. Bailey Hutchison received 30 percent of the vote, and Medina 20 percent.
Perry will run against former Houston Mayor, Democrat Bill White, this November.