Sen. Dan Patrick

Capital Tonight: One-on-One with Sen. Dan Patrick

The state’s abortion law was back in court Monday, along with much of the controversy that surrounded its passage.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on day one of a new legal battle over a part of the law that’s taking effect soon.

CANDIDATE CONVERSATION

From abortion law to border issues, Sen. Dan Patrick has been a key figure in many of the latest political debates. He joined us for a one-on-one interview for the first time since his primary win for lieutenant governor.

ON THE AGENDA

Gov. Rick Perry is lending his name to a new political action committee, adding more fuel to speculation about his 2016 plans. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to discuss that and more.

Patrick Names New Communications Director

Sen. Dan Patrick announced Monday that his campaign has hired Alejandro Garcia as its new communications director. Garcia previously worked as the director of border affairs under three Texas secretaries of state. He also worked as press secretary for Gov. Rick Perry’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

In a statement, campaign manager Allen Blakemore said:

“We are very excited to have Alejandro join the campaign as our new Communications Director. Alejandro has hit the ground running and brings a fresh perspective to the team.  His political campaign experience in communications strategy is a perfect fit to secure our victory in the upcoming November election.”

Patrick, a Republican, is running to replace current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. He faces Democrat Leticia Van de Putte in the November election.

Update: Ron Paul endorses David Dewhurst

Updated to include Dewhurst statement.

Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul has endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in his GOP primary runoff re-election bid. Dewhurst faces State Sen. Dan Patrick, who came in first in the four-candidate field back in March.

According to a story by Brietbart Texas, Paul’s support of Dewhurst comes following Thursday’s endorsement of Dewhurst by former lieutenant governor candidate, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Paul, a former presidential candidate with a huge following from both Tea Party faithful and Libertarians, had endorsed Patterson during the primary. Patterson ended in fourth place in the initial field of candidates that also included Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who came in third. Staples has said he will not endorse anyone in the runoff.

Update:

Dewhurst released this statement in response to Paul’s endorsement:

“I am humbled to earn the support of a straight-talking Texan like Ron Paul. As well as anyone, he shares my deep and abiding concern that an out-of-control federal government is one of the greatest threats to individual liberties in our time. That concern has driven my successful efforts to stop the expansion of Medicaid, keep Texas out of the Obamacare exchanges and secure funding to secure the Texas border in the face of Washington’s abject failure. As his supporters get a closer look at my track record of cutting taxes, limiting spending and keeping government out of people’s way. I look forward celebrating a victory with them after the runoff vote on May 27th and again in November.”

 

Jerry Patterson lists Top 10 reasons he is not endorsing Dan Patrick

Land Commissioner and former lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Patterson made his endorsement of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst official, today. He did it in true Patterson form, with a Late Show style Top 10 reasons he is not supporting Sen. Dan Patrick.

Listed among the reasons is an accusation that Sen. Patrick dodged the draft during the Vietnam war. “I’m a retired Marine with 24 years of service. I’m a Vietnam veteran. My son is a Marine, currently on active duty. Military service is a big deal to me,” Patterson said. ”It’s my view that Dan Patrick needs to explain how he failed to be drafted in 1970, 1971 or 1972.” 

According to Patterson, based on the draft lottery system and Patrick’s date of birth, he would have been called into service, unless he had a deferment. We have reached out to the Patrick campaign about the accusation. They said Patrick was drafted but was excused for medical reasons. We are expecting more details in a press release, later today.

 

 

 

 

Capital Tonight: Does Dewhurst have new momentum heading into runoff?

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has picked up a last-minute endorsement in the runoff race against Sen. Dan Patrick, but is a former rival’s approval enough to overcome the double-digit deficit we saw in March?

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the latest in the lieutenant governor’s race, including new reports about Sen. Patrick’s financial history.

ON THE AGENDA

Gov. Rick Perry was back in the national spotlight this weekend with an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he shared more of his thoughts on a possible presidential run. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to give his impression on that and more.

FARM TO CAPITOL

And it’s a been a big year for agricultural issues, from a dispute over land ownership to a sharp rise in beef prices. Gene Hall of the Texas Farm Bureau stopped by to explain things from a food producers perspective.

Dewhurst to Patrick: Release your tax returns

In the latest jab in the Republican race for lieutenant governor, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is formally asking opponent Sen. Dan Patrick to release his tax returns. “Dan Patrick has refused to release his tax returns despite numerous requests from the press, as well as public challenges from Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson in the primary,” the campaign said Tuesday.

The request is the latest in a string of attacks on Patrick’s financial past. Last week, Dewhurst came out swinging with a new TV ad, highlighting Patrick’s failed business dealings and bankruptcy filing back in the 1980s. Patrick walked away from about $800,000 in debt after a chain of sports bars he co-owned failed.

Tuesday, Dewhurst campaign spokesman Ryan Hecker said,

“After admitting to pocketing his employees payroll tax withholding and leaving a string of unpaid creditors chasing after assets held in a dizzying number of financial entities, voters are beginning to see the truth about Dan Patrick. David Dewhurst has released full tax returns from 2009-2012, and he is calling on Dan Patrick to provide the same transparency.”

Patrick has defended his financial past, saying he’s never tried to cover up his hardships. “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. 

 

 

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.