Texas Lt. Gov. Candidates Compete for Tea Party Backing

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 08:20 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The campaign for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Texas is shaping up as a "deep red" affair as four conservative candidates compete for the tea party vote, the New York Times reported Sunday.

All four candidates are competing for the tea party vote, staking out solidly conservative positions, while trying to differentiate themselves from the competition.

There are few discernible public policy differences among the candidates, but each is trying hard to differentiate themselves from the competition by staking out a particular position or issue, the Times noted.

Incumbent GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is seeking re-election. He lost a bid to capture the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz in 2012, and has been criticized for his management of a Republican-backed bill to restrict abortion. The bill was ultimately enacted into law but not before the process catapulted state Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis to national attention after she filibustered the measure. She is now running for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Dewhurst says he's running for re-election on his record of conservative success and insists he won't "let others define" him. He has also called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama.

State Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, championing state's rights, would like to see the 17th Amendment repealed so that state legislatures can once again elect U.S. senators. He has also spoken of the importance of teaching creationism in the public schools.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, meanwhile, is championing a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. He also touts a certain expertise on border security.

And last but not least, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson emphasizes his libertarian credentials out on the campaign trail, a strong commitment to gun rights, and an endorsement from former Republican presidential candidate and ex-Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

The Republican primary is set for March 4 and if necessary a runoff will be held in May.

The Times also noted that running for lieutenant governor in Texas is no small affair. While basically ceremonial in many states, the position in Texas is considered fairly powerful. The office of the lieutenant governor controls the agenda of the State Senate and has behind-the-scenes influence in shaping public policy.

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