Sen. Dan Patrick

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.

Jerry Patterson earns Ron Paul endorsement

Jerry Patterson, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is boasting an endorsement from former Rep. Ron Paul today. Paul, who also ran for president in 2012, retired from the U.S. House of Representatives last year. Paul served several terms in Congress over the last few decades and has earned a reputation as a staunch conservative and self-proclaimed “defender of liberty.”

In a statement, Paul said:

“Jerry has served Texas well as Land Commissioner. I am now proud to endorse his campaign for Lieutenant Governor. I know Jerry will fight for limited government and more personal liberties. We have a federal government that is out of control, spends too much, borrows too much, taxes too much and continues to infringe on the constitution and states’ rights. This current administration has even gone so far as to sue states they disagree with. We need people in state governments that are willing to stand up to the federal government and say, ‘Enough is Enough.’”

Patterson said he’s honored to receive Dr. Paul’s endorsement. “We are both well-known for never compromising core values and for sticking to our principles in the pursuit of liberty,” he said. “For over 30 years, I have known and talked with Dr. Paul about our shared belief that our country needs a dramatic reduction in the size of government and a return to constitutional principles and I am very grateful for his support.”

Patterson will face Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Sen. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in the March GOP primary. The winner will likely face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in November’s general election.

 

Patrick launches second statewide television ad

Lieutenant governor candidate Sen. Dan Patrick on Wednesday launched his second statewide television ad. The new 30-second spot targets incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and criticizes his budget leadership during the last legislative session.

“The only thing you need to know about the lieutenant governor’s current budget is that every Democrat praised and voted for it,” Patrick said. “As a conservative Republican, I didn’t.”

This is Patrick’s second television ad to hit the airwaves. His last ad, which proclaimed he was the only candidate to “oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants,” prompted outcry from his opponents who argued the claim was untrue and produced a “false” rating from PolitiFact Texas.

Patrick is one of four Republicans on the GOP primary ballot. He faces Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

Dewhurst ad: ‘Texas takes the cake’

Lieutenant Governor candidate David Dewhurst is out with a new ad today, touting Texas’ job creation record.

“Over the past 10 years, Texas has added more private sector jobs than any other state,” Dewhurst says in the voice over. “If Texas was a cake, and one candle represented 10,000 private sector jobs, Texas would look like this.”

Dewhurst faces three challengers in the Republican primary. He’ll be up against Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. No Democrats entered the race yet, although Sen. Leticia Van de Putte has said she is contemplating a run.

Updated: Patrick invites Ratliff to CSCOPE debate in Tyler

Updated to add response from State Board of Education Vice Chair Thomas Ratliff

The stage could be set for a much-talked-about, hypothetical CSCOPE debate. Sen. Dan Patrick and State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff have been sparring over the merits of the online curriculum program through press releases and Facebook posts since July.

CSCOPE was created as an online tool to help teachers meet state education requirements. The program drew criticism from conservative groups who claimed students were being subjected to “anti-American” teachings through some of the lesson plans. Sen. Patrick led a successful effort to do away with the program last session.

SBOE Vice Chair Thomas Ratliff has been among CSCOPE’s supporters, and has encouraged teachers to download the lessons before they are taken offline. “The districts can, and should, continue to use that as one resource,” he said in a Capital Tonight interview. “It’s not the only resource, but when 80 percent of the districts are using it, they don’t have the ability to recreate a curriculum with less than six weeks until the start of school.”

Last month, Sen. Patrick issued a Facebook challenge to anyone who wanted to debate the merits of the program. Ratliff accepted his offer, saying he’d take Patrick on “anytime, anyplace.” Now, Patrick is setting a time, and a place. In a press release sent Wednesday, Patrick invited Ratliff to publicly debate the issue on August 24 in Tyler.

“I’ll give him the home field advantage, but I will not concede the high ground,” Patrick said. “The CSCOPE curriculum was an ill-conceived program, shrouded in secrecy. When I shined a light on it during the Legislative Session; it could not withstand close scrutiny.” 

Update: Ratliff told Capital Tonight this afternoon that he is willing to take Patrick up on his offer, as long as certain conditions are met. “I look forward to a substantive debate with Senator Patrick, not a political discussion with candidate Patrick,” Ratliff said. “I want to make sure it is a thoughtful, meaningful debate. Not just a bunch of soundbites.“ 

There are still details that need to be worked out, including the format. Ratliff says he is proposing a three person panel that would include an educator, a conservative and a neutral moderator, such as a journalist.

Ratliff also expressed disappointment that the debate would be held at a Tea Party event and said he wished it could take place closer to Austin. We do want to note that we at Capital Tonight offered to host this debate. Sen. Patrick declined that invitation.

Dewhurst campaign releases ‘defender of the pre-born’ video

The lieutenant governor hasn’t held any official reelection campaign events, but a new video released by his campaign team appears to get it started for him.

Posted by the TeamDewhurst account Tuesday, the video shows Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the days leading up to the passage of House Bill 2, which imposes tough, new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill was forced into a second special session after Dewhurst failed to get it passed before a midnight deadline at the end of June. The second time around, thousands of demonstrators, both for and against the bill, gathered at the Capitol. Over dramatic music, the video shows Dewhurst promising to respect the opposition’s First Amendment rights while guaranteeing to supporters that the bill would pass.

The video is titled “Dewhurst: Defender of the Pre-Born.”

The ad was paid for by the David Dewhurst Committee, which campaign finance reports show has just over $1.7 million in cash on hand. That puts Dewhurst in third place in the field of declared candidates for lieutenant governor. The numbers show Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples with a strong head start at $3 million. Sen. Dan Patrick, who has strongly criticized Dewhurst for his handling of the bill during the first special session, holds $2.1 milllion. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s campaign has $1.3 million.

Updated: First campaign finance figures released in crowded lieutenant governor race

Updated to add Sen. Dan Patrick’s campaign announcement

Sen. Dan Patrick is reporting his campaign raised $100,000 in the days following his announcement for lieutenant governor, giving him $2.1 million in cash on hand. Patrick, who is the chair of the Senate Education Committee, announced his intention to run for the state’s number two office on June 27.

“I am humbled by the support my campaign has generated among Texans since announcing for Lieutenant Governor on June 27th, though my primary focus in the last few weeks has been on the special session and passing important pro-life legislation,” Patrick said.

Original story:

We’re getting our first glimpse into the financial standing of the candidates running for lieutenant governor. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson announced Monday his campaign raised $417,000 in the last two weeks. That brings his total cash on hand to $1.3 million.

Patterson is part of a crowded field of Republican candidates vying for the state’s number-two spot. He faces Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Senator Dan Patrick. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told Capital Tonight he was also planning to run again, although he has not formally launched a reelection campaign.

The crowded field sets the stage for a 2014 runoff election. Patterson says he’ll likely need $3 million more to make it that far.

Under Texas law, elected officials are not allowed to fundraise until 20 days after the end of the regular legislative session, essentially giving them two weeks to raise cash ahead of today’s reporting deadline. Patterson called his haul between June 17-30 “pretty strong for 13 days of work”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Capital Tonight: Big plans and low poll numbers

New Poll Numbers

Gov. Rick Perry is piquing interest from political pundits this week, after hinting at the announcement of “exciting future plans” in an email to his inner circle. But new poll numbers show the governor with single-digit support among Texans when it comes to a potential presidential primary. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to talk about that and other hypothetical matchups.

Plus, House Democrats say the majority party is pushing through legislation by ignoring the democratic process, but Republicans call the accusation hypocritical after last Tuesday’s behavior from the Senate floor.

After the Deadline

For many tuning in for the first time, the past two weeks have been a lesson in governance. We spoke with Sherri Greenberg of the Center for Politics and Governance at the University of Texas about how the first special session ended and what to expect in the days ahead.

Holding Pattern

The Obama administration announced late Tuesday that it’s delaying a key part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s a move that has far reaching implications, not just for politicians, but for millions of small business owners.