Dan Patrick secures third term as lieutenant governor
By William Melhado, The Texas Tribune
Dan Patrick claimed an easy victory over his Democratic opponent, Mike Collier, in his bid for lieutenant governor, enabling him to maintain the ultra-conservative direction of the Texas Senate during the upcoming legislative session, according to Decision Desk HQ.
Polling consistently put Patrick ahead of Collier before he secured a third term as Texas’ lieutenant governor.
This race was the second time Collier and Patrick faced off. In 2018, the last race for lieutenant governor, Patrick bested Collier by 5 percentage points.
Texas’ lieutenant governor plays an outsized role influencing the Legislature compared with other states’ second-in-command. As the president of the 31-member Texas Senate, the lieutenant governor heavily influences the fate of bills. During his first two terms, Patrick has taken the already considerable power concentrated in the state’s No. 2 job to another level, forcing opponents from races and tightening his grip on the Senate.
Patrick’s ascent to top statewide power broker has been somewhat unlikely. A Baltimore-born former TV sports broadcaster, eventually reinventing himself in the 1990s as a conservative shock jock radio host. Patrick entered the Senate in 2007 as a rabble-rousing outsider and a thorn in the side of the chamber’s leaders. He went on to topple the lieutenant governor from his own party, David Dewhurst, a fixture of the party establishment, in 2014.
Heading into the final days of the race, a political action committee for Patrick had over $16 million on hand, having spent $5 million between the end of September and end of October. Collier’s campaign had only $128,000 left in his coffers after he spent $1.5 million during the same period.
The majority of Patrick’s campaigning was done through a 131-stop bus tour across rural Texas. The tour eschewed larger media outlets, declining to share the schedule and locations of the bus trip, and instead relied on local news organizations and social media to document the tour.
On violent crime, an issue long leveraged by Republicans, Patrick advocated for increased prison time for those who use a gun when committing a crime.
“Texans are fed up with violent crime and skyrocketing murder rates,” Patrick said in one of his campaign ads. “To stop it, I will pass legislation next session to add a 10-year mandatory jail sentence to anyone convicted of using a gun while committing a crime.”
Patrick has long been a supporter of school vouchers, which has become a divisive issue with rural voters who fear that enabling the spending of public funds toward private school tuition will erode the educational institutions often at the center of small communities.
Patrick recently said that if a school vouchers program was passed, it would be for urban areas only. Collier criticized Patrick’s support for using taxpayer money for private schools, calling it a “hollow campaign promise.”
Collier focused on his GOP roots while campaigning in an effort to appeal to moderates and Republican voters disillusioned with Patrick. He touted endorsements from Republicans who opposed Patrick, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and state Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, both of whom are leaving office after this year.
During the campaign, Collier highlighted his experience working in the oil and energy industries and argued he was better suited to fix issues in the state’s power grid, which failed last year during a winter storm that killed hundreds of Texans.
Collier ran for the office of Texas comptroller in 2014. He lost by more than 20 percentage points to Glenn Hegar, a Republican.
Just over a decade ago, Collier switched parties after 25 years as a Republican.
“The hard Right of the Republican Party had grown so rigid and uncompromising that ordinary people, like me, we’re just going to have to walk out,” Collier wrote in his 2017 book, “Out of Comptrol.”
Collier and Patrick did not debate ahead of the midterms, but in the final month of the race the two adversaries exchanged muted barbs at each other.
Collier filed a cease-and-desist letter over a television station running Patrick’s ads, which Collier said misrepresented his position and alignment with President Joe Biden. Patrick posted a rebuttal video to Collier’s letter, citing a 2021 interview in which the Democrat compared himself to Biden.
"Dan Patrick secures third term as lieutenant governor, beating Mike Collier" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/11/08/dan-patrick-mike-collier-texas-lieutenant-governor/.
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