AUSTIN — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it official Thursday: the Republican is seeking a third term leading the state Senate. In an announcement video, Patrick touted his conservative bona fides and promised to “crush” the Democrats in 2022.
“The Democrats are bragging again they are going to turn Texas blue, well I am not about to let that happen,” said Patrick, 71.
Former President Donald Trump has already endorsed Patrick, a stamp of approval that carries weight with the state’s most conservative voters who typically vote in GOP primaries.
No high-profile Republicans have jumped into the race to challenge Patrick, but at least one aired grievances with his leadership this week.
“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,” Rep. Cody Vasut, R-Angleton, said during a recent business luncheon, according to The Brazosport Facts.
Ever since an eleventh-hour walkout by House Democrats killed the GOP’s divisive elections bill, Republican leaders have sparred about who’s to blame. While Patrick pointed the finger at House Speaker Dade Phelan, who he accused of slow-walking legislation, House members said the blame rests with the Senate for making last-minute changes that triggered delays. Gov. Greg Abbott has promised to call a special session to reconsider the bill, though he has not yet said when.
Patrick oversaw a chamber this session that passed most of his 31 priorities, many of which focused on divisive social issues popular with the conservative base, like limiting abortion and expanding gun rights, but also included addressing the electric grid. Democrats were largely sidelined, after a rule change Patrick championed that effectively limited their say in which bills reached the floor.
At least one Democrat is in the race for lieutenant governor. Mike Collier, who unsuccessfully challenged Patrick in 2018, is after a rematch.
“Dan Patrick has proven that he doesn’t care about the needs of everyday Texans and he refuses to lead on the issues that Texans care about the most,” Collier said in a statement Thursday.
Patrick, a former conservative radio host, was first elected lieutenant governor in November 2014 after eight years in the Texas Senate. He won reelection in 2018, besting Collier by five percentage points.