The race for who will represent the GOP in the election for lieutenant governor of Texas went from bad to brutal this week after one of the candidate's psychiatric records were released.
The race pits current lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst, who took office in 2003, against state Sen. Dan Patrick. The two are campaigning ahead of a May 27 runoff election that will determine who makes it on the November ballot.
A third Republican candidate, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, finished fourth in the primary and will not be on the runoff ballot. But this week, he released Patrick's personal medical records that detail two stays in a psychiatric hospital in 1982 and 1986.
Patrick allegedly sought treatment for depression and, according to the records as reported by Fox News,
"needed sitters around the clock for being severely depressed."
Patterson, who supports Dewhurst in the race, said he has no ties to either campaign and claimed the records were "not leaked, but in the public domain for 25 years."
"I don't work for the Dewhurst campaign," Patterson told Fox News. "He is not paying me — in fact, they're probably running from me because there could be a backlash. However, the issue is not the chain of custody of documents, but whether Dan Patrick is the most fit to serve in arguably the most powerful position in the state."
Patterson said he obtained the records from an unnamed attorney.
Dewhurst said he did not play a role in the release of the records, which showed, according to the Texas Tribune,
that Patrick was diagnosed with having a chemical imbalance. In fact, Dewhurst said he has not even read the documents.
Despite his claim, the Tribune reports that a Patterson email sent to a list of reporters last week mentioned the impending release of the records and hinted that someone close to the Dewhurst campaign was involved.
Patrick, who has served in the state Senate since 2007, also believes his opponent had something to do with making the records public.
"David Dewhurst and his attack dog Jerry Patterson have sunk deeper into the mire, lowering themselves further into the gutter," Patrick said in a statement, according to the Tribune.
The race has taken an ugly turn as of late. Attacks on Patrick have run from a claim that he changed his name to hide from debtors, the Austin American-Statesman
reports, to an ad
with a series of photos that showed him wearing a sport jacket and tie but no shirt. The shirtless ad portrayed Patrick as a partier, but the photos were actually taken at an auction at which Patrick sold the shirt off his back to help benefit children with special needs.
Patrick, according to Fox News, has called Dewhurst "cheesy" and said he is lying about his voting record.
"Just when you think this race couldn't get any nastier, it sinks into the depths of the sewer," Rice University political science professor Mark Jones told Fox News. "I can't recall this level of negativity on personal issues before."
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