Hutchison stayed mum about her future as she conceded to incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. But for both personal and political reasons, her friends in Washington say she’ll be welcomed back to the Senate with open arms. “I want her to serve out her term,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who supported Hutchison in the primary. “She’s a good person and a good senator.” Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) went further, saying Hutchison should “absolutely” stay and calling her “one of our best.” John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, would become Texas’s senior senator if Hutchison left. But he indicated he’d like to keep a reliably conservative vote in the chamber and avoid a costly campaign to fill the seat before it comes up again in 2012.