For many months, pols and political junkies have been waiting for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to declare his intentions in the GOP race to succeed U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison–a race that includes former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert. Yesterday, Dewhurst teased that his plans probably wouldn’t be influenced by whether Gov. Rick Perry decides to run for president. And in a talk to People Newspapers/D staffers in Dallas today, the lieutenant governor (pictured in photo by Chris McGathey) sure sounded like a candidate who was itching to jump in.
“Tricia [Dewhurst’s wife] and I have prayed about it. I’m not here to be making any announcement; I’d rather be doing that in a couple of weeks,” Dewhurst said. “I love Texas … and for anyone going to Washington, it’s a hardship. But I just think there seems to be a lack of understanding in Washington as to how to balance budgets and treat people fairly and be civil and address entitlements.”
The lieutenant governor then praised the current Legislature for pumping more money into public education–even as it reduced spending by nearly $15 billion–and said Washington could learn from Austin by “thinking outside the box” on reforming Medicare, for example. “Out of 29 elected state officials, I’m the only traditional businessman,” Dewhurst concluded. “So, we’ve learned our lessons. We’ve tried to lower taxes, tried to fund the priorities, we’re trying to use new ideas to solve health care. … I don’t see that happening in Washington. I think they need practical problem-solvers there. And that’s as close as I’m gonna come to making an announcement.”