""This is the time to go," she said in an interview.
Hutchison made her announcement at noon in an open letter to Texans. In the letter, Hutchison said she wanted to live "full-time in Texas with my family" and was "forever grateful for the privilege of working for you in the United States Senate."
In the interview, Hutchison said she is proud of her record but "now is the time for a new person to come in."
I have known since 2006 that I would not seek another term," she said. "I just wanted to announce it in my own way in my own time."
Hutchison said the time was right because her junior colleague, Sen. John Cornyn, R-San Antonio, has become a national figure. She said she had not reconsidered her decision after Republicans made gains in the 2010 midterm elections, leaving her in line for the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee in 2013.
Hutchison becomes the first incumbent senator up for election in 2012 to make a retirement announcement. Her decision will set off a wild scramble for the Senate seat the Dallas Republican first won in a 1993 special election against interim Sen. Bob Krueger, D-New Braunfels. She said she wanted to give the large field of potential successors plenty of time to run for an open seat.
She has no plans to run for public office, again, but she won't rule out running sometime in the future. She didn’t endorse anyone but reserves the right to do so before the primary. She, also, said that, unlike her promise to resign her seat in last election’s Texas gubernatorial race, she won’t change her mind this time.
She has been a great Senator from the great state of Texas for almost 20 years. She will be missed.