Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Texas Lt. Gov. Battle Royal Begins

November 4, 2014 will be a key date in Texas. It is the next key election day. There are the federal mid-term elections with all US Representative Offices up for election/re-election. Governor Perry is not running for re-election. State's Attorney General Greg Abbott appears to be the current GOP front-runner. Any contenders have not received enough exposure at this time to be viable. The progressives are pushing "Pink-shoes-Barbie" Wendy Davis to run on the Democratic ticket.

Meanwhile, libertarian, conservative, and Tea Party affiliated contenders are rising to challenge Dewhurst for his re-election run as Lieutenant Governor. It is appearing to be an interesting race to observe. Given Texas's mostly conservative leanings, the winner of this primary stands the best chances to win the election in Nov. '14.

Three candidates have announced bids for the Lt. Gov. office. Two of them may have Dewhurst worried.

Jerry Patterson is the candidate that likely worries Dewhurst the least. His stance on the views appear, mostly, to mirror those of Patrick and Staples. There isn't much original there. He has no recent accolades for work on border security, the Second Amendment, or Education reform. He has worked to maintain citizens' property rights and fought against government confiscation or intrusion. His views on water conservation are questionable, though, offering special tax breaks for water conservation, which seems to almost signal some amount of collectivism. Jerry is a Marine Corps retiree, having served 10 years active and 14 years in the active reserves. No doubt, he'd make a champion for veterans' issues. 

Todd Staples is a solid candidate with an established history of both public service and private industry. having met and spoken with Mr. Staples, it's easy to see how he'd do well in the office. Staples is a proponent of returning Second Amendment protections to law-abiding citizens. He has a firm stance on border security, as demonstrated in his book Broken Borders, Broken Promises.  He also sees the benefits of increased work-visas to help increase Texas's Agricultural industries. He sees the value of increasing the tax base and lowering tax rates in order to better boost the state's economy. However, his campaign appears relatively quiet on the subject of education.

Senator Dan Patrick is another strong contender. He also stands for tax reforms and fiscal responsibility. Patrick also claims to be in favor of restoring Second Amendment protections, including advocating for open carry and campus carry. His views on returning Texas to constitutional carry seem, at this time, vague. He understands the necessity for increased border security. Patrick took up the call from parents and went to battle against the controversial CSCOPE program and other education reforms. He also championed bills to ban Common Core from Texas. His work in the Texas Senate has been one that stood on conservative values. In addition, he appears to be riding the coattails of Senator Ted Cruz.

Patrick chaired the Senate committee on education. Looking at much of the education reform legislation shuffled around the Texas 83rd Legislature, his stance on school choice and returning responsibility and authority to #WeTheParents might be in question. Patrick gave CSCOPE a nice punch in the teeth and a bloody nose. However, the program is still around. It has not yet come under review. The materials still are not 100% only available for parents to review. Many of the more controversial materials and curricula within the program will likely still sneak into classrooms. The only way parents will know what is being taught will be to audit the classes, actually sitting in the classrooms.

Other reforms fell short of school choice reforms and establishing vouchers or rebates. In addition, cities such as San Antonio were permitted to raise sales taxes to benefit only one of the Independent School Districts operating in the city. Those tax revenues won't be used in ISDs with schools outside of city limits.

Other questions Patrick may face regarding his work in education reform may include policies for protecting Texas citizens from paying federal tax money for education. In corollary, education is, per the US Constitution, a state or municipal responsibility. Given that fact, what would Patrick do to refuse federal funding and infringements involving Texas schools?

Those Cruz coattails may take Patrick pretty far. Cruz was a Tea Party favorite. Freedomworks and other organizations backed Cruz at a grassroots level. Dewhurst ran a traditional campaign, flooding highways with billboards, etc. Dewhurst is still attempting to pay off the approximately $1M he still owes from his failed US Senate bid.

The original primary was like a mixed-martial arts "king of the ring" free-for-all. Dewhurst was counting on being the apparent victor. In that primary Dewhurst had the largest percentage of the vote. However, Cruz, was still standing, ready to continue the fight when the time ran out. Dewhurst failed to achieve over 50% of the popular vote. So the two squared off in the cage for a final beat-down. Dewhurst thought he'd have that one in the bag. What he failed to count on was Cruz and his campaign not only had endurance, but was getting stronger and better by the day. At the end of that match, Cruz beat Dewhurst and headed to Washington. Today, Cruz is one of the most outspoken US Senators, calling for sweeping reforms and returning to the US Constitution.

Should Cruz's camp jump in Patrick's corner, Dewhurst may face another hard fight.

Candidates are encouraged to provide statements or interviews to this site as we cover the races. Editor P-G Matuszak can be reached at pavelgregory@gmail.com .