Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) is viewed by most observers as the presumptive front-runner in the race for retiring-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's (R) seat. Even though he has not yet declared his intentions for the race, he has been eying the open seat contest. But as it turns out, he may also have another statewide office on his mind.
"I need to make a decision in June whether I'm going to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 or stay right where I am and run for governor in 2014," Dewhurst said in an interview with Austin's KXAN television that aired Monday.
It's too early to read too much into Dewhurst's words, but if he does not run for Senate, he will open up the race for other Republicans including former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Williams and Cruz are battling for the support of conservatives and Tea Party voters, and Cruz has landed the endorsement of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). But former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert potentially stands to gains the most: he's built a sizeable war chest, has the ability to self-fund, and is viewed as more of an establishment Republican candidate.