The battle for conservative credibility in the GOP race for governor just got interesting.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, an outspoken critic of all things liberal, is supporting Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the gubernatorial primary against sitting Gov. Rick Perry.
Hutchison campaign aides confirmed the news, and added that Cheney will host a fundraiser for Hutchison next month in Houston.
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"She is pleased to have Vice President Cheney's support," said Jennifer Baker, Hutchison's spokeswoman. "He knows that she is a true conservative who walks the walk and not just talks the talk, and she will continue to deliver conservative results for Texas as governor."
Cheney's support is the highest profile endorsement Hutchison has gotten so far in her bid to unseat Perry in the March Republican primary. Support from Cheney, who is popular with many conservative activists, could help Hutchison shore up her right flank.
Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas, said Republicans still have mixed views of the Bush administration. But he predicted the former vice president, who hasn't been shy in his attacks on the Obama administration, would help her score points with conservatives.
"You can't think of it as anything but a plus for her in a Republican primary," Henson said. "I would think it's going to be a great media hit for her ... She'll get some free media out of it, which is really what you want out of endorsements."
Perry's campaign spokesman, Mark Miner, fired back after hearing of Cheney's support for Hutchison.
"It's not surprising, since they both worked in Washington for so long. Washington insiders stick together," Miner said.