In officially tossing her cowgirl hat into the 2010 Texas governor's race this morning, Kay Bailey Hutchinson (as previewed by Mike Allen) is set to take this shot at sitting governor Rick Perry: "He's a dedicated public servant. I know he loves Texas. But now he's trying to stay too long--14 years, maybe longer." 

Keep in mind that this isn't just a generic anti-incumbent or anti-status quo slam (which, when you think about it, would be a little odd, considering that the four-term senator ain't exactly a fresh face). It's also a reminder to all those Texas GOP powerbrokers that Governor Rick kinda, sorta promised to step aside and give Kay her chance several years back and is now reneging. As NPR recounted in March:

Hutchison has wanted to be Texas governor since 2002, when Perry first ran for re-election. But in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Perry appealed to her sense of patriotism, saying the country needed all GOP hands on deck, not fighting amongst themselves in Texas.

Then in 2006, Perry quietly hinted to some big contributors that all he wanted was four more years as governor. Or at least that's what some donors thought they heard.

Perry's reassurances mollified Republicans who wanted Hutchison as their candidate: She would get her turn to run for governor in 2010.

But then Perry reconsidered — or perhaps some Republicans had misunderstood his intentions. Regardless, earlier this month, Hutchison released a broadside of Republican contributors, some of them former Perry supporters.

With the fat wads of cash and the level of animus involved, this promises to be the most entertaining race of the season. Grab your front-row seats now, people.

--Michelle Cottle