- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 23, 2011

Retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, said Sunday she thinks she would have won re-election in 2012 and defended herself as a strong conservative, but she acknowledged that attacks from some tea party groups and bloggers have been “depressing.”

“I am a reliable conservative,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I read the blogs, and it gets kind of depressing, frankly, to read those blogs.”

Mrs. Hutchison acknowledged criticism from the fiscally conservative tea party movement that she fought too hard to bring federal money to her home state, but she defended her actions.

“I think I’m elected to support my state, and I have supported every spending cut, every overall spending cut,” she said. 

Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, is among the leaders of the tea party movement who have questioned Mrs. Hutchison’s conservative credentials, saying almost immediately after her Jan. 13 retirement announcement that her departure gives the GOP a chance to replace her with a strong conservative.

“It opens up a Senate seat in a strong Republican state, giving us another opportunity to elect a principled conservative,” he said.

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