Governor Rick Perry bleeds Texas A&M maroon, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has University of Texas at Austin burnt orange running in her veins. Every year in November, both schools beat up each other on the football field.
On the political field, it seems Aggies and Longhorns can get along.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a UT grad, announced a coalition of supporters called "Aggies for Kay".
The group, made up of more than 60 distinguished Aggie alums, is putting their support and money behind Senator Hutchison's bid to unseat Governor Rick Perry in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary.
On a conference call with reporters, three of the members said the main reason for backing Hutchison over fellow Aggie-alum Rick Perry was simple: they feel Hutchison will do a better job for higher education in Texas and for Texas A&M in particular.
Flores also said he chose to back Hutchison because he feels education is the "bedrock of the economic future for Texas" and that Hutchison has a track record of not just supporting higher education, but also K-12 programs. Flores didn't name any specific examples of Hutchison's education work that led to him giving his endorsement.
Governor Perry was criticized earlier this year, after a former Texas Tech regent told reporters he was forced to resign his post because he supported Perry's opponent, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, for governor. Members of the "Aggies for Kay" coalition admit that the governor's role in selecting regents is one of the reasons they're supporting Hutchison.
"The governor has appointed every Texas A&M regent and chancellor. They're all supporters of the governor. The flagship doesn't have any autonomy to manage it's own affairs. The strategy for the university is effectively set in the governor's office." Jon Hagler told reporters. Hagler is a former chair of the Texas A&M Foundation.
When asked if they feared any backlash from the governor's office or any current regents at Texas A&M, there were mixed answers from the group.
"There could be backlash, but this is an important issue for Texas and for our alma mater and it's worth the backlash to find right leadership." said Flores.
"I don't fear backlash" said Hagler. "I'm doing what I think is right." he added.