Lt. Gov. Dewhurst

Capital Tonight: Attack ads resurface in lieutenant governor’s race

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has broken his weeks-long campaign silence. In a new ad released Wednesday, the incumbent is bringing up his opponent’s financial past, suggesting Sen. Dan Patrick’s bankruptcy filing nearly 30 years ago is an indication of his suitability for lieutenant governor.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the Patrick team is responding to the ad, and we hear why one former campaign consultant says the strategy could backfire.

NEW POLL NUMBERS

A new poll puts Sen. Ted Cruz at the top of the heap when it comes to potential 2016 Republican primary candidates. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to evaluate what the numbers mean for Cruz, and for Gov. Rick Perry.

MAKING THE GRADE

All this month, schools are measuring students with the STAAR test. But what about using it to evaluate teachers? We spoke to Jennifer Canaday of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, who says the idea could be disastrous.

New Dewhurst ad targets Patrick’s troubled financial past

Updated to include Sen. Patrick response.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is out with a new television attack ad today. The new 30-second spot is highly critical of Sen. Dan Patrick’s financial history. Patrick filed for personal bankruptcy in the 1980s, when fallout from the oil bust forced him close a chain of sports bars he co-owned. Many have been critical of the fact that he never paid back more than $800,000 in debts.

Patrick has defended his bankruptcy, saying he never tried to hide his troubled financial past. Patrick has used his history as an example of how Texans can overcome hardship, and attributes his success as a businessman to lessons learned from his past failures. “I learned from that. It made me the fiscal conservative that I am because I am 63 today, I was 35 then,” he said in an online interview. 

You can watch the full Dewhurst ad here:

UPDATE:

Patrick was quick to respond to Dewhurst’s attack, calling the negative ad a “string of lies, half truths, and a rehash of events from 30 years ago.” Below is a statement from Patrick campaign strategist Allen Blakemore.

“Six weeks before the Runoff Election and during Holy Week, David Dewhurst takes his campaign straight to the gutter.  Over the next seven days, he is spending over $1,000,000 polluting the airwaves, spewing raw sewage, and personally attacking Dan Patrick.  Mr. Dewhurst’s ad offers no excuse for his own record of failure to secure the border, failure to address property taxes that are driving people from their homes, and a failure to deliver a fiscally responsible budget.

Mr. Dewhurst’s negative campaign of personal attacks will fail.  The voters know David Dewhurst and his record, and over 70% have already rejected his message and are looking for an authentic conservative like Dan Patrick to lead as our next Lieutenant Governor.”

 

 

Republicans hold double digit lead in statewide races

Republican Greg Abbott continues to hold a double digit lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the race for Texas Governor, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The poll puts Abbott at 51 percent, to Davis’ 37 percent. Those numbers are similar to the last PPP poll, conducted in November.
In fact, Republicans hold a double digit lead in every statewide 2014 race.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte trails regardless of who her potential Republican opponent might be. Senator Dan Patrick, who came out ahead in the Republican primary, leads Van de Putte by a 16 point margin. A match-up with Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst puts Van de Putte 18 points behind.

Van de Putte’s Republican opponent will be determined in the May 27 runoff election.

 

Capital Tonight: Van de Putte muses on contentious Republican runoff race

One week after the primary polls closed, Republicans remain split over who to support in the lieutenant governor’s race. Sen. Dan Patrick soared passed incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, surprising pundits and forcing the race into a runoff.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at where support is coming from for both candidates. Plus, we spoke to Sen. Leticia Van de Putte about how a contentious runoff race could affect her campaign.

CAPITAL COMMENTATORS

Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign is bringing in some outside help to lead the communications team. We talked to Democratic strategist Harold Cook and Republican strategist Ted Delisi about that change, along with new lines of attack between the Davis and Greg Abbott campaigns.

ENROLLMENT UPDATE

Federal officials say more than four million people have signed up for health insurance through the online exchange since October, but the White House still needs more young people to sign up in order for the Affordable Care Act to work as planned.

A new video from comedian Zach Galifianakis might help in that effort. The fake community access interview with the president has gotten more than six million views so far, and White House officials say it’s driving record traffic to the healthcare.gov website.

Dewhurst responds to opponent’s undocumented worker troubles

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is responding to a recent Dallas Morning News article drawing negative attention to his opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick, for allowing undocumented immigrants to work under him 30 years ago.

“I’m shocked and disappointed at the hypocrisy of Dan Patrick. It’s just one more example of preaching one thing and doing something else,” Dewhurst said.

Dewhurst addressed the controversy while speaking to reporters at an early voting event in Austin Thursday. Sen. Patrick has said he wasn’t aware that four men working in his Houston-area sports bars in the 1980s were in the country illegally, and that the workers falsified their employment forms.

The information came to light after a private investigator hired by one of Patrick’s opponents, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, contacted one of the workers.

Sen. Patrick has made border security and illegal immigration key issues in his campaign, and the revelation sparked criticism from all three of Sen. Patrick’s opponents in the lieutenant governor’s race.

 

 

 

Dewhurst likens Obamacare launch to a school food fight

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst launched a new statewide television ad Monday. The 30-second spot criticizes President Obama’s health care legislation, comparing its bumpy launch to a high school food fight. “It’s chaos,” the ad says. “Everybody loses.”

The ad points to problems that plagued healthcare.gov and the so-called bureaucracy surrounding its implementation. “That’s why I successfully led the charge to keep Texas out of the Obamacare exchanges and stopped Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion,” said Dewhurst.

You can watch the full ad, below.

Dewhurst is facing a tough four-way GOP primary race. He will face off against Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in the March 4 election.

Dewhurst, Straus issue interim committee charges

The leaders in the Texas House and Senate laid out new agendas for their respective committees during the interim legislative session. This is the work lawmakers will be tasked with accomplishing before the legislature reconvenes in 2015.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced interim charges for the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs during the annual Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Conference. He is calling on lawmakers to study ways to improve access to support services, monitor the implementation of new mental health legislation and to study the impact of federal spending cuts on local veterans programs.

“Here in Texas, we honor our veterans because of their sacrifices and service to our country and the positive impact their leadership, experience, and education have on our economy,” Dewhurst said. “I am committed to making Texas the most vet-friendly state in the country.”

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus also laid out his interim charges to help the committees prepare for the 2015 legislative session. According to the Speaker, the 44-page list is based on requests and suggestions made by House members. Among them is a call for House members to investigate the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people.

“Today’s interim charges, combined with the initiatives that I will announce in the weeks to come, will help Members prepare to tackle serious challenges in the next session,” said Straus. “I am confident that we can continue to address these issues in a responsible, bipartisan way.”

You can read the full list of charges below.

 

83rd Interim Charges

Texas Association of Realtors endorses Dewhurst

The Texas Association of Realtors announced Thursday it is backing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in his reelection bid. The group has actively pushed property rights legislation in the past, including efforts to lower property taxes and reform the property appraisal system.

In a statement, Chairman Dan Hatfield said:

“We believe Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is an excellent leader who understands that we must ensure Texas remains a great place to do business. Through the years, he has shown that he will do what’s right for Texas, which is why we’ve pledged our support. We’re proud to endorse Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s re-election campaign.”

Dewhurst faces Sen. Dan Patrick, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in the GOP primary. The winner of that race will face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the general election in November.

Dewhurst campaign announces $1.4M cash on hand

The David Dewhurst campaign reports it raised $2.3 million in the second half of 2013, a number that puts Dewhurst slightly above two of his competitors in fundraising.

But when it comes to cash on hand, Dewhurst is at the back of the pack. Both Todd Staples and Dan Patrick currently claim $3.1 million in the bank, compared to the $1.4 million total Dewhurst announced today. (Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is also running for lieutenant governor, has not released totals yet.)

It’s not clear yet how much the Dewhurst team has spent, but the campaign has released a steady series of ads since the lieutenant governor’s official announcement for re-election, with at least one airing nationally. The campaign has also been hampered by an alleged embezzlement scandal, in which a former campaign manager is accused of stealing more that $2 million.

 

TEXPAC endorses Dewhurst for lieutenant governor

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is touting the support of the Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee. TEXPAC announced Thursday it would endorse Dewhurst in his reelection bid.

“Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst values and welcomes the input of Texas physicians in developing health care policy for the state,” said TEXPAC Board Chair Jerry Hunsaker. “We know we can trust Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst to do the right thing for Texas’ patients and their physicians.”

Dewhurst is facing Sen. Dan Patrick, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in the GOP primary.