It may not have the big-money, wide-swath appeal of the upcoming governor’s race, but the Texas Lieutenant Governor Republican primary, set to come next month, may have just as much of an impact on Texas’s state-wide legislation over the next few years. And though there seems little likelihood of a Democratic victory, there’s been a bit of good news recently on the potential outcome.
While the four GOP candidates have all tacked a hard right, appealing to the party’s Christianist base, the Tea Party has largely rallied behind Dan Patrick, a radio host and state senator out of Houston. Patrick’s as vitriolic as anyone the Tea Party’s yet produced. He’s insisted on reintroducing creationism into the classroom. He’s publicly disparaged Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s recent wedding to her partner. He’s reveled in dog-whistle rhetoric about Hispanic immigration, portraying himself as the lone hope for stymying the impending demographic overturn.
Find a caricature about the Tea Party’s factional leanings, and Patrick will embody it.
And while Patrick isn’t the favorite – that honor still lies with current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who Wendy Davis outflanked during her now-famous filibuster – he has the potential to force a run-off with Dewhurst. Such run-off could place him as the likely winner.
At least, that was the thinking before this week. On Wednesday, though, the Dallas Morning-News found a gentleman willing to call out Patrick for his hypocrisy. Miguel Andrade, a Mexican-born 48-year-old, told the paper that he and a few colleagues worked for Patrick in the mid-80s, when Patrick owned a handful of Houston-area sports bars. Unfortunately, Patrick determined that he didn’t have to check the immigration status of Andrade or his colleagues – even after Andrade told him he was in the country illegally.
As DMN reports:
Andrade agreed that a manager under Patrick hired him and the other three men, but said that after a few months Patrick knew that the four workers didn’t have permission to be in the country – because he told Patrick. …
One of [Patrick’s] challengers, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, called Patrick a hypocrite.
“You shouldn’t be one thing when you’re running for office and be something else when you’re not,” he said, referring to Patrick. “Here we have the true…hypocrisy of the past versus present political endeavor.
Patrick, naturally, has called the claim little more than “dirty politics,” coming but a handful of weeks before the election. But regardless of tactics, the reality now stands — Patrick’s hypocrisy has come to light, just in time for the state’s GOP voters to head to the polls. His race-bait politicking about a Hispanic “invasion” has just fallen apart.
And while this means Texas will likely have to deal with another round of increasingly hard-right Dewhurst, at least they won’t have to suffer through the likes of another Tea Party prize.
Image via Dan Patrick’s Facebook page
Casey Michel is a graduate student at Columbia University, and former Peace Corps Kazakhstan volunteer. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, and Talking Points Memo, and he has contributed multiple long-form investigations to Minneapolis’s City Pages and the Houston Press. You can follow him on Twitter.
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