You may never have seen a race quite like the 2010 race for Texas Land Commissioner.
Meet Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a Republican, and Democrat Hector Uribe, who offers some mild policy disagreements over the job Patterson has done over two terms.
Both demonstrate good humor and so much friendly feeling that Patterson has invited Uribe to fly with him to campaign events in the small, single-engine World War II surveillance plane the land commissioner pilots.
“You reach a point in your life when you’ve got nothing to prove by denigrating somebody else,” Patterson said of the friendly, sometimes funny campaign the two former state senators are conducting for the land commissioner’s job.
Both got small acting roles in the 2004 “Alamo” movie, both were born in 1946, and both lost their 87-year-old mothers this year. Uribe represented Brownsville and South Texas in the Senate from 1981 to 1990; Patterson represented part of the Houston area in 1993-99.
Running a nasty, negative campaign is “just not who I am,” Uribe said.
The two candidates recently sat down in Patterson’s office to discuss the campaign. Uribe assured Patterson’s office receptionists they could keep their jobs after he wins the Nov. 2 election.
He then proceeded to measure the drapes and Patterson’s desk.
“You’re as funny as a fart in the front pew,” Patterson told Uribe as he jokingly grabbed one of several guns he keeps in the office.
You saw my interview with Hector Uribe yesterday. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Commissioner Patterson a couple of times over the past few years, all having to do with the Kenedy Ranch wind farms issue. I have plenty of policy disagreements with him, but I think he’s been a good advocate for renewable energy, and I’ve said so before in this space. As I noted before, Patterson is admirably willing to show up and defend his record anywhere, any time; in this election season, given the behavior of all of his statewide colleagues, that’s so refreshing it’s downright quaint. I want to see Hector Uribe win this election because his views and priorities are more closely aligned with mine, not to mention that it sure would be nice to have a(nother) Democrat on the Legislative Redistricting Board. But especially in a year where it seems like just about every Republican candidate out there has lost his or her mind, I appreciate the fact that my only real beef with Patterson is over boring, wonky policy matters. I wish a lot more elections were like that.