Washington (CNN) – Despite making a pledge to resign, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced Wednesday that she will not retire before her term expires in 2012.
"This has been a hard decision. I really did intend to leave," the Texas Republican told reporters in San Antonio.
Citing the recent passage of health care reform, a possible change in energy policy and the federal government's "massive debt," Hutchison said there were plenty of reasons to remain in Washington.
"There has been an intense concern - throughout Texas and our country, but certainly I have heard it all over Texas - about the direction of our federal government," said Hutchison. "It has caused me to look at my resignation in a different way."
Hutchison promised to vacate her Senate seat during a bitter intra-party fight for Texas governor against incumbent Rick Perry, who defeated Hutchison earlier this month.
Flanking Hutchison at the announcement were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn, both of whom had been urging her to stay in office.
"If you sense an audible sigh of relief in the air, it's every single Republican in the U.S. Senate conference who greatly values Kay Hutchison's leadership, intelligence and effectiveness," said McConnell.
Perry, Hutchison's onetime rival, said in a statement that he is "pleased" by Hutchison's decision to remain in Washington, where she can best work to reform the new health care law.
Hutchison was first elected to the Senate in 1993, winning re-elections in 1994, 2000 and 2006.
–CNN's Mark Preston contributed to this report