The campaign for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Texas is shaping up as a "deep red" affair, The New York Times reported.
All four candidates are competing for the tea party vote, staking out solidly conservative positions, while trying to differentiate themselves from the competition.
In Texas, the job of lieutenant governor is powerful rather than ceremonial. The office of the lieutenant governor controls the agenda of the State Senate and the incumbent has behind-the-scenes influence in shaping public policy, the Times reported.
There are few discernible public policy differences among the candidates. Each has sought to stake out his own niche.
Incumbent 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 Senator Wendy Davis to national attention
. She is now running for governor against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Dewhurst, who says he's running for re-election on his record of conservative success, has called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama. He insists he won't "let others define" him.
State Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, championing state's rights, would like to see the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution repealed so that the state legislatures can once again elect U.S. senators.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 has plugged his championing of the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, as well as his expertise on border security.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson emphasizes his libertarian credentials, endorsement from Ron Paul, and strong commitment to gun rights.
The primary is set for March 4. If necessary, a runoff will be held in May.
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