First on CNN – Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison leading contender for US NATO ambassador

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, is the leading contender to become US Ambassador to NATO, a senior administration official told CNN on Tuesday.

The official said the move to tap Hutchison is part of an “uptick” in the process to fill undersecretary and ambassador positions within the State Department.

Hutchison served in the US Senate for nearly 20 years, deciding against seeking re-election after the end of her term in January 2013.

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