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Thu Oct 24, 2013, 12:42 AM

Early, spirited race for lieutenant governor pleases tea party crowd

CONROE —

With the start of the filing period still weeks away and the spring primary election even more distant, the four candidates who want to be Texas’ next lieutenant governor queued up Wednesday night in the latest, lively tea party debate forum, in a tea party stronghold north of Houston.

The incumbent conservative, Lt. David Dewhurst. A consistent conservative, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. An authentic conservative, state Sen. Dan Patrick. And a self-described “Larry the Cable Guy Conservative,” Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

As they have at five previous forums together — the most early campaign appearances in one of the hottest lieutenant governor’s race in decades — the four candidates took verbal swings at each other on tax cuts, school choice, border security, in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Once again, the crowd loved it.

In a race that the candidates predict could cost well over $6 million to win, a king’s ransom compared with past races, both the candidates and the more than 300 prospective voters who showed up insisted the months-early campaigning is a refreshing change.

“Not in my lifetime have I ever seen any campaigning like this for lieutenant governor — but I think it’s a great,” said Ted Duffner, 71, a self-described “tea party patriot” from Houston who showed up wearing two anti-Obama buttons.

“We need to hold our government more accountable — both federal and state. The more forums there are, the more people can know.”

Echoing that sentiment was Rosemary Roe, of The Woodlands, a State Republican Executive Committee member: “I don’t think all this early campaigning is too much. It helps voters make better decisions.”

The candidates, though perhaps somewhat weary after criss-crossing the state to attend more than a dozen of the forums in communities from Clear Lake to Fort Worth and Tyler to San Antonio, agreed. Two additional debate forums are coming up in Amarillo and San Antonio.

“Three elected officials who are running against the incumbent lieutenant governor is a big sign that there’s a lot of interest in this campaign,” said Staples.

It is unusual to have three sitting office holders challenging an incumbent in the Republican primary, but Dewhurst, who presides over the Texas Senate, was weakened politically by his 2012 loss to Ted Cruz in a primary for an open U.S. Senate seat.

Patterson, who like the other candidates has attended almost every forum, said they are “a good use of my time” because so many likely GOP primary voters are showing up at them. Plus, he added, the candidates are interesting.

“You’ve got a radio talk show host, you got a structured guy, a guy who stutters — and then you got me,” Patterson said. “People have a real choice among four conservatives in this race — four different kinds of conservatives.”

Patrick said this fall’s campaigning is not as early as it might seem. “The race is basically down to 12 weeks. It’s five weeks between now and Thanksgiving, and six-seven weeks after the holidays until the early vote starts,” he said.

The candidate filing period doesn’t open until Nov. 9 for the March 4 primary.

“Twenty years ago, there were one or two ladies clubs that you might appear before and some other clubs. Now, there are eight or nine or 10 clubs alone in Tarrant County that you will want to visit,” Patterson said. “People come to see you when you’re in their area, and these forums are bringing people out — so these forums have been really healthy.”

Ryan Hecker, Dewhurst’s campaign manager and tea party activist, said that the tea party forums are energizing voters across the state. “Politics is no longer just about large rallies,” he said. “It’s about elections, and about turning out voters in the primary.”

Highlights of the Wednesday forum:

Dewhurst: “This primary next March is not about me, it’s about you and the future of your children. Past performance is the best indicator of future performance.”

Patrick, who proposed banning lawmakers from becoming lobbyists for four years after they leave office: “If you are leaving the Legislature, you should not go from being a chairman and becoming a lobbyist with the same people you were dealing with before. This must stop.”

Staples: I don’t want Texas of the future looking like California or New York.”

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/jury-convicts-avery-ranch-homeowner-of-murder/nbXNk/

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Reply Early, spirited race for lieutenant governor pleases tea party crowd (Original post)
TexasTowelie Oct 2013 OP
MindMover Oct 2013 #1

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Thu Oct 24, 2013, 12:49 AM

1. Texas will soon be an armed encampment solely

built for the interests of big money and corporations. I pity anyone living in Texas for at least the next 5-10 years ...

The citizens of Texas could be so lucky if there state would adopt Cali or NY standards ...

Instead there will be more private prisons built and more homeless starving people than any other state ...

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