Ray Hutchison, Texas' always upbeat 'Mister Republican' who was best known for his unflagging support of the political ambitions of his wife, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, has died at the age of 81, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Hutchison was a former member of the Texas House of Representatives and Chairman of the State Republican Party, where he helped put the party on course to the dominance it holds today.


  "Ray Hutchison was a tremendous champion and defender of conservative values," Attorney General Greg Abbott said.  "Ray impressed upon so many others what it means to be a leader."


  Hutchison was best known as a behind the scenes player at the power law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani, where he helped handing the bonding for some of the largest projects ever built in north Texas, from D/FW International Airport.  In fact, Hutchison was so instrumental in getting the big airport in Grapevine built that there was a suggestion to name it for him.


  Hutchison was an established state lawmaker and candidate for governor in 1978 when he met a young legislator named Kathryn Ann Bailey, who turned to politics after managing a failed bank.    She credits him for getting her involved in politics and supporting her run for State Treasurer in 1990, a run which is credited with helping nudge the Republican landslide which happened later that decade.


  Hutchison had two children when he married the future U.S. Senator, and they adopted two children as a couple.


  Many Texas reporters remember Hutchison as a constant presence in Republican Party events, and always excited about boosting his wife's career.