She married her first husband, John Pierce Parks, a medical student, on April 8, 1967; they divorced in 1969. She married her second husband, in Dallas, Ray Hutchison, on March 16, 1978. They have two adopted children: Kathryn Bailey and Houston Taylor, both adopted in 2001. She also has two stepdaughters, Brenda and Julie, from her husband's previous marriage. Ray Hutchison, a former member of the Texas Legislature and unsuccessful candidate for Texas governor, having lost the Republican nomination in 1978 to Bill Clements of Dallas. He is a senior partner with the law fim of Vinson & Elkins.
Senator Hutchison and her family have their primary residence in Dallas. She has a second house in Virginia, where she lives when the Senate is in session, and where her children attend school.
She is a supporter of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation where she is a honorary board member.
In 1972, Hutchison was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from a district in Houston. She served until 1976. She was vice-chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1976 to 1978. She was a candidate for election to the United States House of Representatives in 1982 for the Dallas-based 3rd District, but was defeated in the primary by Steve Bartlett. She temporarily left politics and became a bank executive and successful businesswoman.
A field of 24 candidates sought to fill Bentsen's unexpired term, in the May 1993 special election. The top two vote-getters were Hutchison (593,338, or 29 percent) and Krueger (593,239, also 29 percent). Two conservative Republican congressmen, Joe Barton of Dallas (284,135 or 13.9 percent) and Jack Fields of Houston (277,560, or 13.6 percent) split pro-life voters (although Hutchison calls herself "pro-life", she does not advocate overturning Roe v. Wade). Their combined vote was 561,695, still a third-place finish. A fifth candidate, Democrat Richard W. Fisher, polled 165,564 votes (8.1 percent); the remaining candidates had about 6 percent combined.
During the campaign Krueger charged that Hutchison was a "country club Republican" and insensitive to the feelings of minorities. In January, the Houston Chronicle reported that both Hutchison and Fields had promised to serve a maximum of two six-year terms in the Senate as part of her support for term limit legislation for members of Congress. In April, the Dallas Morning News reported that Hutchison had repeated her pledge to serve only two terms in the U.S. Senate, if elected, and had also said term limits ought to cover all senators, including Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), who had been elected in 1984 and re-elected in 1990. (He would stay in the Senate until 2002.) The term-limits legislation never passed, and Hutchison has said that she would not leave the Senate in the absence of such legislation, because doing so would unilaterally hurt Texas at the expense of other states in the seniority-driven institution.
After the initial voting, most of the Barton and Fields voters switched to Hutchison, who won the runoff, 1,188,716 (67.3 percent) to 576,538 (32.7 percent). Lower turnout in the runoff resulted in a decrease in Krueger's vote total, by 17,000. Hutchison became the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.
Following Hutchison's election in 1993, Texas has had two sitting Republican U.S. senators.
The case against Hutchison was heard before State District Judge John Onion in February, 1994. During pre-trial proceedings, the judge announced that he would make no rulings on the admissibility of evidence prior to the trial. The evidence was to include data from tapes maintained by Treasury employees. Hutchison had allegedly given instructions that the data be deleted from the department's computers (during the course of the trial, the data — enclosed in a pizza box — were turned over to the Travis County DA's office).
This was a ruling DA Earle considered critical. Earle felt that it was a technique designed to torpedo his case, because Onion could rule mid-trial that certain important evidence was inadmissible under the Texas Rules of Evidence
Following Onion's ruling, Earle declined to proceed with his case. Though he had intended to continue the case later, Onion declined to give Earle that opportunity. The judge instead swore in a jury and immediately ordered the panel to acquit Hutchison when no evidence had been presented to them by Earle. The acquittal barred any future prosecution of Hutchison. Later that year, Earle granted reporters access to the files he had amassed to make his case against Hutchison.
In 2000 she defeated Democrat Gene Kelly, with 4,082,091 (65 percent) to 2,030,315 (32.2 percent). She carried 237 of the 254 counties, including one of the most Democratic counties, Webb County (Laredo). This was the only time since the early 1900s that Webb County had supported a Republican candidate for any office on a partisan ballot. More than four million Texans voted for Hutchison that year — still the record highest number of actual votes ever cast in Texas for a non-presidential candidate (George W. Bush received 4,526,917 votes in Texas in the 2004 election).
Hutchison's Democratic opponent in the November 2006 general election was former Houston attorney and mediator Barbara Ann Radnofsky (born July 8, 1956), who had not previously run for public office. Radnofsky received 44 percent of the vote in the primary and won a runoff election against Gene Kelly with 60 percent of the vote. Kelly had been the unsuccessful Democratic nominee against Hutchison in 2000. Libertarian Scott Lanier Jameson (born July 1, 1966), a real estate consultant from Plano, also ran for the seat.
Radnofsky faced an uphill battle in a state that has not elected a Democrat statewide since 1994, as George W. Bush's landslide reelection as governor in 1998 had helped carry Republicans into all the other statewide offices. In the August 2006 Rasmussen poll, Hutchison led her opponent by 30 percentage points — 61 to 31. The Survey USA Poll, which is not a head-to-head matchup, but only lists approval ratings of incumbents, found Hutchison with a 61 percent approval rating. The Zogby poll, in contrast, showed a closer result, but still showed Hutchison with a 17.3 percent lead — the highest of any incumbent Republican Zogby tracks. The authors stated "...Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who got 65 percent of the vote in 2000, is a safe bet to win a third term."
On election night 2006, Hutchison won re-election to another term, winning 2,661,789 votes (61.7%). Radnofsky won 1,555,202 votes (36.04%). Radnofsky only won in base Democratic areas, carrying only border counties with strong Hispanic majorities, such as El Paso and Webb (Laredo) and in Travis County (Austin). Hutchison won everything else, having procured majorities in 236 of the state's 254 counties.
On Feb 2, 2005, Hutchison sought to curtail the ability of plaintiffs to file class-action lawsuits against corporations
In June 2000, Hutchison and her Senate colleagues coauthored Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate. In 2004, her book, American Heroines: The Spirited Women Who Shaped Our Country, was published.
From 2001 to 2007, Hutchison served as Chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference (caucus), making her the fifth-ranking Republican in the Senate behind Majority Leader Bill Frist, Majority Whip Mitch McConnell and conference chairman Rick Santorum, and Policy Chairman Jon Kyl. In 2007, Hutchison succeeded Jon Kyl as the Policy Chair for Senate Republicans, the fourth ranking leadership position in the Republican caucus behind Minority Leader McConnell, Minority Whip, and conference chairman Kyl.
The National Journal ranked Hutchison as follows in its 2004 rankings, which are based on various key votes relating to economic policy, social policy, and foreign policy: "Economic: 26% Liberal, 73% Conservative; Social: 38% Liberal, 60% Conservative; Foreign: 0% Liberal, 67% Conservative. Although a loyal Conservative Republican she has been known to cross over to the other side on a few issues. She is more likely to do this than either Phil Gramm or his successor John Cornyn." A poll that was released on June 19, 2007, shows that Hutchison has an approval rating of 58%, with 34% disapproving.
Hutchison is currently considered to be liberal on abortion issues, at least compared to most elected Republicans from Texas. Although she has served on the Advisory Board of The Wish List (Women in the Senate and House) Political Action Committee, which contributes to pro-choice female Republican candidates for Congress, she is no longer on the board and the PAC did not endorse her in 2006. In the past years NARAL has given her ratings of 0%, 7%, 20%, and 0%, indicating that her voting record mostly favored enacting proposed abortion restrictions.
While in the Texas House of Representatives (1973 to 1977), Hutchison worked to protect rape victims from having their names published with Sarah Weddington, the attorney who won the Roe v. Wade case. She supports some abortion rights, but does not believe taxpayers should fund abortions. Hutchison has also endorsed parental notification laws and in 2006 sponsored legislation to prevent minors from being transported across state lines to circumvent such laws.
Hutchison formerly had resided in D.C., but has since moved her family to Virginia, in addition to her de jure residence in Texas.
In February 2006, TheWhiteHouseProject.org named Hutchison as one of its "8 in '08", a group of eight female politicians who could possibly be elected President in 2008. Hutchison's name was also circulated as a possible Vice-Presidential candidate for Republican John McCain. Her record as a conservative, female politician from the American Southwest could have induced the GOP to add her name to the ticket in an effort to balance any perceived gender gap between the parties. However, the selection went to Sarah Palin instead. In a secretly recorded conversation by MSNBC, GOP insiders Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy went as far as to suggest that Hutchison was insulted by McCain's pick of Palin and that Hutchison "has never looked comfortable with" the ticket.
Hutchison is also considered a possible candidate for the governorship of Texas in 2010.
In an interview with Texas Monthly, Hutchison said she would not seek re-election after this term and may leave as early as 2009, to allow a new senator to build seniority before the 2012 election. If she is elected governor in 2010, a temporary appointment will be made by the governor.
|Year||Democrat||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1988||3,149,806||59%||Beau Boulter||2,129,228||40%||Jeff Daiell||Libertarian||43,989||1%|
|1994||Richard W. Fisher||1,639,615||38%||Kay Bailey Hutchison||2,604,218||61%||Pierre Blondeau||Libertarian||36,107||1%|
|2000||Gene Kelly||2,025,024||32%||Kay Bailey Hutchison||4,078,954||65%||Douglas Sandage||Green||91,329||1%||Mary Ruwart||Libertarian||72,657||1%|
|2006||Barbara Ann Radnofsky||1,555,202||36%||Kay Bailey Hutchison||2,661,789||62%||Scott Jameson||Libertarian||97,672||2%|