In addition to Democrats who are making a run to be second-in-command in a historically red state, at least one candidate has emerged as a Republican primary opponent for Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R).
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R)
Not shying away from the limelight, Patrick has been the incumbent since 2015 and has a long career in the media. Patrick was the Texas chairman of the reelection campaign of former President Trump, who this past summer even teased the idea of having Patrick back on his team for a possible second run for the White House.
“Are you gonna be my campaign manager if I do this again?” Trump asked Patrick at a border wall event in June.
Championing a number of lightning rod conservative issues, he pushed for reforms to the Texas power grid and advanced conservative social priorities such as the public school sports bill requiring student athletes to compete based on biological gender.
However, Patrick is not universally liked among Republicans. During the 87th legislature’s regular session, Patrick nursed a feud with the Texas House over his belief that it was less willing to pass conservative priorities.
In the midst of this feud over the productiveness of each chamber, Texas Freedom Caucus member Rep. Cody Vasut (R-Angleton) said, “I do not support Dan Patrick for reelection — I think he needs to go, I think we need somebody else in there, somebody who’s actually committed to being a productive member.”
Patrick originally won his office in 2014 with 58 percent of the vote against Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D). In the Republican primary that year, Patrick had trounced Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R), who had also lost decisively to Senator Ted Cruz in the 2012 GOP runoff for U.S. Senate.
Four years later, Patrick won reelection against Democrat Mike Collier by a much slimmer margin of 51 percent to 49 percent.
Trayce Bradford (R)
Trayce Bradford launched her campaign in Tyler on Tuesday evening.
In a statement to The Texan, Bradford described her decision as a campaign for limited government.
“My decision to run comes from a deep respect for representative government. We cannot stand by and hope the leaders of this state fight against more government overreach when very little was done to curtail it in our own state this last session and the two-plus special sessions,” Bradford told The Texan.
“Texans are paying attention and we want to be represented by people who are not so removed from day to day reality to protect the interests of our state without sacrificing personal freedoms.”
In a press release announcing her candidacy, Bradford also indicated liberty as the bedrock of public policy in Texas.
“As a native Texan and strong conservative I will stand up for the liberty principles that are foundational to Texas’ long term success,” Bradford said.
For more than four years, Bradford was the president of Texas Eagle Forum, a conservative advocacy group. She was also president of the Dallas and Tarrant County Eagle Forum and served as the vice president of Christians Engaged.
Among the issues that Bradford’s campaign emphasizes is border security, state sovereignty, and pushing back on “the ever growing government encroachment into our lives and liberties as citizens.” She also stands for “individual medical rights” and small businesses.
Bradford was born in Austin, grew up in Victoria, and is a graduate of Texas A&M University.
Matthew Dowd (D)
“Enough is enough” is the battle cry of Dowd’s campaign as he calls Patrick “cruel and craven.” Specifically, he objects to what he calls Patrick’s “hateful culture war” and failing to appropriately address the pandemic and the Lone Star State’s power grid issues.
“I love Texas, but I hate our politics,” Dowd said on his campaign website, where he states his support of Roe v. Wade and his opposition to constitutional carry and the Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021.
Dowd was the chief strategist for former President George W. Bush during his second presidential campaign. Bush had been governor of Texas before ascending to the White House. In addition, Dowd worked for former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock (D), who happens to be the last Democrat who occupied the office.
Three years ago, when he was working for ABC News, Dowd wrote an opinion piece contending that white men should have fewer positions of leadership in order to “give others room to lead.”
“As a white male Christian in America, I am part of a dwindling subset that has held the levers of power politically and economically in nearly every field for the entire history of the United States,” Dowd wrote, adding that this should change in a “much more dramatic way” than it is.
“Instead of waiting for the diverse population of America to keep pushing and prodding, I would humbly suggest that we as white male Christians take it upon ourselves to step back and give more people who don’t look like us access to the levers of power.”
Mike Collier (D)
Businessman Mike Collier came within just over 400,000 votes of unseating Patrick in the 2018 general election. In a political climate marked by such vitriol and polarization, next year’s race could be a nail biter of a rematch.
Collier, who signaled his intent to run when he formed an exploratory committee earlier this year, officially launched his campaign on Monday. He is running on a platform that includes supporting abortion rights, criminal justice reform, “lead[ing] the fight against climate change,” and spending more on public schools and energy.
“I’m running for Texas Lieutenant Governor to Hold Dan Patrick accountable for his many failures. To hold our leaders accountable you have to run against them — and you have to beat them,” Collier said at the time.
“We all saw what happened in February when our energy sector failed because of decades of poor Republican leadership from politicians like Dan Patrick. We must ensure that never happens again.”
Collier also ran unsuccessfully for the office of comptroller of public accounts in 2014, losing to Republican Comptroller Glenn Hegar.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."