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GOP Sources: McCaul May Get In U.S. Senate Race

Michael McCaul who serves the 10th District of Texas in Congress.
Michael McCaul who serves the 10th District of Texas in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, is quietly exploring a run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican sources told The Texas Tribune on Tuesday. McCaul is telling potential supporters that he's prepared to spend $4 million to $6 million of his own money.

In a statement emailed to the Tribune, McCaul didn’t say he was getting in the race but also didn’t deny that he was. "My goal remains to ensure that the most qualified person represents Texas in the United States Senate," the statement said.

He'd be entering a crowded Republican primary field that already includes Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, former Solicitor General Ted Cruz and undertaker Glenn Addison. Retired Lt. Gen. Ric Sanchez is the only Democrat in the race so far.

McCaul's current federal campaign balance, at $143,256, isn't impressive, especially since he also has outstanding debts of $209,384, according to the Federal Election Commission. But he's also the richest member of Congress, according to a recent report from Roll Call, and could easily finance his own campaign if he so desired.

McCaul, 49, was first elected in 2004 to an eight-county House district that stretches from Austin to Houston.

Ross Ramsey is managing editor of The Texas Tribune and continues as editor of Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter on government and politics in the Lone Star State, a role he's had since September 1998. Texas Weekly was a print-only journal when he took the reins in 1998; he switched it to a subscription-based, internet-only journal by the end of 2004 without a significant loss in subscribers. As Texas Weekly's primary writer for 11 years, he turned out roughly 2 million words in more than 500 editions, added an online library of resources and documents and items of interest to insiders, and a daily news clipping service that links to stories from papers across Texas. Before joining Texas Weekly in September 1998, Ramsey was associate deputy comptroller for policy with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, also working as the agency's director of communications. Prior to that 28-month stint in government, Ramsey spent 17 years in journalism, reporting for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper's Austin bureau chief. Prior to that, as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, he wrote for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ramsey got his start in journalism in broadcasting, working for almost seven years covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.