Hutchison did not resign her Senate seat during the campaign against Perry. She said repeatedly that she would stay in the Senate as long as her vote was needed to fight President Barack Obama's health overhaul.
Now that the health care bill has passed, Hutchison has been silent on whether she'll step aside or serve the remaining two years of her term. However, aides announced late Tuesday that she would appear today at a news conference in San Antonio where she is expected to announce her political plans.
Leppert said Tuesday he didn't know what Hutchison would ultimately decide.
"I'm just moving forward with what I'm doing," he said. "To the extent opportunities come up, or obstacles, I'll deal with them at that time. I'm focused on what we're doing. We've got some good things going on."
Dallas lawyer Michael Boone, a Leppert supporter, said the mayor had wanted to use his post as a launching pad to higher office. Those plans were thwarted, however, when a special election for Senate never materialized.
"His first term was going to be a springboard, but the springboard got pulled from underneath him," Boone said.
Leppert is expected to make a formal announcement of his intentions by this fall.
"That is the best news I could have possibly gotten," said Donna Halstead, Dallas Citizens Council president. "It's an opportunity for the city and the business community to take some giant steps, knowing that they're going to have a mayor who understands how to get things done."
Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said Leppert and the council had done a good job. He said he wished Leppert had been mayor when the Dallas Cowboys were looking to relocate to Dallas.
"The city is moving forward and on the right track," Caraway said. "It's exciting that the council that's worked so hard to move the city forward has the possibility of staying together."
Leppert stopped short of saying he had made up his mind on seeking re-election.
Some Dallas analysts believe he may forgo another term, even if Hutchison does remain in the Senate.
Candidates already are lining up to replace Leppert should he not run, including state Sen. John Carona , R-Dallas. Carona has been making the rounds and wooing supporters for weeks.
That's led to speculation that state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, is set to run for Carona's Senate seat.
None of it would happen, however, if Leppert seeks re-election. He would be heavily favored in the nonpartisan race, perhaps drawing only token opposition.
Once re-elected, Leppert would have the option of running for statewide office from his perch as mayor, much like Ron Kirk did in 2001, when he vacated his second term to run for the open Senate seat eventually won by Cornyn.
Leppert was elected mayor in 2007. The former construction company executive came out of obscurity to defeat numerous well-connected candidates.
The mayor, who campaigned on bringing the city together to solve some of its nagging problems, said he's proud of his first term.
During his four years in office, he's won referendums on the Trinity River toll road and the convention center hotel plan. Crime has dropped, and downtown Dallas has seen significant revitalization.
"People feel good about what we've done. I think people feel good about the tone," he said. "You look at the police, you look at the convention center hotel. All of those pieces we've moved forward on and made progress, and fiscally we've been very responsible in a difficult time."
Leppert conceded that all was not rosy and that difficult times are ahead. The council will have to deal with increasingly tough budgets and the difficulties in getting the Trinity River project back on track.
Economic development in southern Dallas also remains a top, if elusive, priority.
"Are there challenges out there? Sure," he said. "The projects are moving forward. People are more optimistic and the attitude is better now, especially here, than in any place in the nation right now."