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Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst crushed in GOP primary runoff

State Senator Dan Patrick ends Dewhurst’s bid for a fourth term

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

HOUSTON (CFP) — Two years after losing a U.S. Senate primary to Tea Party insurgent Ted Cruz, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has lost his bid for a fourth term to another Tea Party-backed candidate.

Texas State Senator Dan Patrick

Texas State Senator Dan Patrick

State Senator Dan Patrick of Cypress took 65 percent in the May 27 Republican runoff. Dewhurst trailed with just 35 percent.

Patrick will now face Democratic State Senator Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio in November’s general election.

Patrick, 64, a conservative radio talk show host who represents a Houston-area district in the Texas Senate, had finished well ahead of Dewhurst in the first round of voting back in March. But Dewhurst poured $5 million from his own personal fortune into the runoff campaign to try to make up the difference.

Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst

Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst

Dewhurst, 68, from Houston, was first elected lieutenant governor in 2002, after serving a term as state land commissioner. In 2012, he was the prohibitive favorite in the U.S. Senate primary, with the backing of Governor Rick Perry and the GOP establishment. Then, Cruz came out of nowhere to beat him in a runoff.

Patrick criticized Dewhurst for being part of the Austin establishment and also hit him for supporting in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. Dewhurst’s campaign went personal, making Patrick’s 1987 bankruptcy and his legal name change issues in the race.

Dewhurst claimed Patrick changed his name to avoid his debts. But Patrick insisted that he changed his given last name — Goeb — to Patrick because he had already been using the new name in his work as a media personality.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry bows out, paving way for GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott

Gov. Rick Perry’s departure gives Texas its first open governor’s race since 1990

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

texas mugSAN ANTONIO (CFP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision not to seek a fourth full term as the Lone Star State’s chief executive in 2014 has opened up the field, with GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott seen as a prohibitive favorite to succeed the colorful and frequently controversial incumbent.

Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, announced July 8 that he would not run to serve another four years in what he called “the greatest job in modern politics.”

Quoting the “time for every season” passage from the Book of Ecclisiasties, Perry said, “The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership.” He also said he would “pray and reflect” on his future plans but was mum on whether he will seek the presidency in 2016.

Greg Abbott

Attorney General Greg Abbott frontrunner in Texas governor’s race

Abbott, 55, from Wichita Falls, was appointed as a justice to the Texas Supreme Court by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 1996. He ran for attorney general in 2002 when John Cornyn left that job in a successful bid for the U.S. Senate, and has been re-elected twice.

Abbott, who has used a wheelchair since the age of 26, when he was injured by a falling tree, has raised a staggering, Texas-sized $18 million for the governor’s race, with two years still to go.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2012, has said he plans to run for re-election rather than trying to move up to the top post. If he sticks to that position, it would clear away one possible hurdle for Abbott.

Tom Pauken, a former state GOP chairman and state workforce commissioner from Port Aransas, has announced a bid for governor. Debra Medina, a Ron Paul acolyte from Wharton who challenged Perry in the 2010 GOP primary, has also said she’s considering a bid, and a Facebook page has been set up to draft her into the race.

On the Democratic side, the pickings are slender, which is not surprising given Texas’ strong GOP bent.

Both San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and former Houston Mayor Bill White, who lost to Perry in 2010, have declined to run. State Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who became the heroine of the abortion movement by successfully filibustering an anti-abortion bill in June 2013, is being mentioned as a possibility.

Also being mentioned is Annise Parker, the openly lesbian mayor of Houston. She easily won re-election as mayor of the state’s largest city in 2011.

The last time Texas didn’t have an incumbent running in the governor’s race was in 1990, when Democrat Ann Richards defeated Republican Clayton Williams. Richards lost four years later to Bush, who won re-election in 1998. Perry became governor when Bush was elected president in 2000 and won re-election in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

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