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Austin

Texas GOP Sen. Hutchison to stay in Senate

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Kay Bailey Hutchison has decided to stay in the Senate after losing the primary election for governor.

Though she had previously said she would resign her seat, Hutchison, 66, will serve out her third term, which ends in 2012.

The decision, announced Wednesday in San Antonio, comes after 20 Texas Republican House members signed a letter last month urging her to stay in the Senate. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas joined Hutchison at the news conference.

Democrats, however, said it was to be expected.

“No one is surprised that Sen. Hutchison is not resigning her seat," Texas Democratic Party chairman Boyd Richie said in a written statement. "We never believed she would leave the Senate, and it’s disappointing that she refused to shoot straight with Texas voters. The real test for Hutchison is if she will stand by her criticisms of Rick Perry or hypocritically embrace his failed service as governor."

Hutchison lost the Republican primary race for governor earlier this month to Gov. Rick Perry, who now faces former Houston mayor Democrat Bill White in the November general election.

"I am pleased that Sen. Hutchison has decided to complete her term in the Senate and remain in the fight against Washington’s imprudent harmful policies," Perry said in a statement. "Her experience will be crucial to reforming the health care disaster and to holding job-killing cap-and-trade legislation at bay."

Perry also said the bill saves millions of taxpayer dollars that would have been needed to hold a special election, and ensures the Senate seat stays in Republican hands.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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