Perry easily beats Hutchison in Texas

March 03, 2010|By Tribune Newspapers

Texas Gov. Rick Perry cruised to an easy victory Tuesday night in a bitterly fought GOP primary that pitted him against the state's popular U.S. senator and an insurgent running as a favorite of the tea party movement.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison conceded less than an hour after polls closed, bringing an abrupt finish to one of the most highly anticipated contests of the 2010 primary season. The victory gives Perry plenty of time before November to unify Republicans.

With nearly 70 percent of precincts reporting, Perry held 51 percent of the vote to Hutchison's 30 percent, enough to avoid an April 13 runoff. Debra Medina, an activist making her first try for office, had 18%.

On the Democratic side, former Houston Mayor Bill White easily swept past a half-dozen lesser-known candidates, giving the party its strongest gubernatorial contender in years. Still, most analysts consider White, 55, a decided underdog in the fall campaign.

Polls showed that Hutchison, a three-term senator, was highly regarded by fellow Republicans.

Perry, a tenacious campaigner, had never lost an election in more than two decades in public office.

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