(CNN)– Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has announced that she will not seek reelection in 2012. Hutchison, who was first elected to the Senate during a special election in 1993, is also the first woman senator from Texas.
"I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012," Hutchison said in a statement. "That should give the people of Texas ample time to consider who my successor will be. In the next two years, you can be assured that I will pursue my duties, and my responsibilities to our state and people, with the same vigor that I have employed during my Senate service."
Hutchison, who failed in her bid against Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a challenge to win the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination, decided to serve out the final two years of her Senate term - even though she pledged during the gubernatorial primary that she would retire.
She remarked on her decision to remain a Senator through 2012 in the statement.
"The last two years have been particularly difficult, especially for my family, but I felt it would be wrong to leave the Senate during such a critical period," Hutchison said. "Instead of putting my seat into a special election, I felt it was my duty to use my experience to fight the massive spending that has increased our national debt; the government takeover of the our health care system; and the growth of the federal bureaucracy, which threatens our economy. I will continue that fight until the end of my term in 2012."
Fellow Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn - who also heads up the National Republican Senatorial Committee - said in a statement regarding Hutchison's decision, "It has been an honor and privilege to serve with Senator Hutchison in the United States Senate. Kay has dedicated much of her life to serving Texas, and our entire country, and I am enormously grateful to be able to work alongside a woman of her vision, a woman of her energy, and someone who represents the very best of the State of Texas."
The Democatic Senatorial Campaign Committee also quickly responded to Hutchison's announcement:
"The 2010 cycle was full of surprises and it turns out 2012 will have some twists and turns as well: the first Senate retirement is a Republican," DSCC Communications Director Eric Schultz said in a statement. "We look forward to running a competitive race in Texas as the Lone Star state is now one of several Democratic pick-up opportunities next November."