Republican Race For Lieutenant Governor Begins With Dewhurst Bashing

From left to right: State Sen. Dan Patrick, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
The primary election for lieutenant governor of Texas is still months away — but the battle has already begun in the Republican Party. All four candidates made their cases at a forum in Houston this week.

Judging from the attacks on his work by his challengers, keeping his current position won’t be a cakewalk for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Dewhurst and his challengers, state Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, faced off during a “Ronald Reagan Republican Women” luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel in the Galleria area.

Patrick, whose district encompasses Tomball, Spring and parts of Houston, says he’s not running against anyone but for himself. Still, the state senator made very clear that he would do things differently from Dewhurst.

“As lieutenant governor I will not appoint half of the Democrats as chairmen of committees, as lieutenant governor I will not ever let mob rule take over the Senate, as lieutenant governor I will have the energy and passion to be there every day, every minute, working hard.”

Patrick says he decided to run for lieutenant governor after the Legislature failed to pass an abortion restriction bill in its first special session.

He blames Dewhurst for being unable to establish order when a loud crowd of pro-choice activists kept legislators from voting on the bill at the end of the session. That was after an 11-hour filibuster attempt by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth).

Dewhurst says he asked senators several times if they wanted him to change the rule that allows individual lawmakers to hold up a vote as long as they keep speaking until the deadline without a break.

“I said one more time, if you don’t want me to break it, because I can, right now, then we’re going to have to break the filibuster 11 hours later. Eleven hours later we broke the filibuster. I sustained three points of order and it was 10 minutes after 10, I was ready to go close down and then pass the last two remaining pieces of legislation, and all hell broke loose.”

The abortion restriction bill was passed in the second special session.

It was especially Patrick who put Dewhurst on the defensive throughout the forum, which had the candidates respond to preselected questions by audience members.

Dewhurst’s main selling point was how well Texas has been doing during his 10 years as lieutenant governor.

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Florian Martin

Reporter/NewsLab Coordinator

Florian Martin is the KUHF NewsLab Coordinator. While guiding and overseeing interns, he works on his own stories and is always on call to cover breaking news and other media events...