Election to replace Hutchison could cost $30M

AUSTIN, TX A single special election would cost between $18 million and $20 million, Secretary of State Esperanza "Hope" Andrade said in the letter. A runoff could increase the cost another $10 million, she said.

Andrade sent the letter in response to a cost breakdown request from the conservative group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

Hutchison has said she expects to resign before the end of the year to focus on her race for Texas governor. Her opponent, Gov. Rick Perry, would designate a temporary replacement and call a special election to fill the senator's unexpired term.

The costs could go up or down depending on when the election was held and whether it coincided with other state or local elections.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner said a special election would be a waste of money.

"The senator's potential resignation to run for governor amounts to nothing more than another taxpayer funded bailout, only this one benefits one person's political ambition," Miner said.

Hutchison spokeswoman Jennifer Baker blamed Perry, who appointed Andrade to her job, for any future costs of replacing the senator.

"If Rick Perry had spent the last 9 years doing his job instead of playing political games, mismanaging the state and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars, Texans would not need a new governor to come in and clean up his mess," Baker said.

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