Secretary of State Roger Williams announced his resignation this week to “pursue other opportunities” – a not-so-subtle signal that he will probably pursue a statewide office, possibly a U.S. Senate seat should Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison decide to make a 2010 run for governor. The Weatherford car dealer and Republican fundraiser extraordinaire will leave office July 1. Gov. Rick Perry has not yet named Williams’ replacement. The secretary of state is a relatively low-profile job, although the appointed position has historically provided a suitable jumping-off point for political aspirants and high-dollar lobbyists eager to apply the skills they honed as the state’s chief elections officer. In a statement, Perry called Williams an “incredible salesman” for Texas and praised his 2-1/2-year record of manning a mammoth voting system and serving as the state’s ambassador to Mexico. Many people will remember Williams as the guy who former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn sued after he refused to identify the gubernatorial candidate as “Grandma” on the November 2006 ballot. Strayhorn lost the ballot battle and the election. During her campaign, Strayhorn took frequent potshots at Williams for raising campaign contributions while serving in what is supposed to be a nonpartisan post. As of last December, Williams had raised more than $190,000, according to Texas Ethics Commission filings.
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