AUSTIN -- State Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie is picking Gov. Rick Perry as the likely winner over U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for the 2010 gubernatorial nomination.
And that, he said Thursday, would be a good thing for Democrats.
"If I had to say today, I would say that Rick Perry was going to be the nominee," Richie said between sessions at an Austin meeting of the Democratic National Committee.
Richie acknowledged that his assessment is "certainly subject to change" in the six months before the March 2 primaries. But at this stage, he said, Perry's red-meat declarations and tough anti-Washington rhetoric have given him the apparent edge among conservatives who form the base of the Republican primary vote.
"He has pandered to the right wing of his party," Richie said. "He can count. He knows those are the ones who are going to turn out.
"I think he has gained an advantage, and the polls are showing that in the Republican ranks."
Hutchison spokesman Joe Pounder retorted: "Kay Bailey Hutchison is the true conservative in this election, unlike Rick Perry, who increased taxes, tried to confiscate nearly 600,000 acres of private property and not too long ago was running as a Democrat."
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