We say we do, anyway.
Ask Democratic Sen. Leticia Van de Putte which Republican candidate for lieutenant governor she would like to battle in the general election — incumbent David Dewhurst, Houston Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson or Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples — and you will get a guarded answer: “I’ll be ready for all four of them.”
Coyly, however, she admits Patrick “would probably be more fun.”
Democratic consultants and political analysts not associated with her campaign are more straightforward. They say Patrick’s Republican primary campaign has provided a possible path to victory for Van de Putte, who undoubtedly will capitalize on the Houston talk show host’s harsh immigration rhetoric.
His campaign ads include stern warnings about an “invasion” from Mexico, and he vehemently opposes “amnesty” for anyone who entered the country illegally. In a previous Texas Senate campaign, Patrick warned that undocumented immigrants brought such communicable diseases as leprosy with them — an unsubstantiated claim.
Grace Garcia, executive director of Annie’s List, cited Patrick’s record on women’s issues as another vulnerability for the general election: Many suburban women may be motivated to vote Democratic rather than support Patrick, who unflinchingly opposes abortion in all instances, she said.
Patrick sponsored legislation requiring woman to obtain sonograms before abortions — a popular issue in the GOP primary, but less so among more moderate voters who participate in a general election, she said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she was saying a novena or two in his (Patrick’s) interest,” Democratic consultant Dan McClung said.
I basically agree with this, and I daresay so do many Democrats. Patrick is the smarmy embodiment of everything the Democrats are trying to run against this cycle – the hostile-to-Latinos, contemptuous-of-women, ideology-first Republican that has no interest in solving problems. It’s easy enough to imagine him losing enough bits and pieces of Republican support – Latino Republicans like Massey Villarreal, business interests that depend on immigrant labor like the Texas Farm Bureau, maybe some of those suburban women Wendy Davis is also trying to woo – to lose the election. There’s also the fact that a lot of Republicans just flat out don’t like Dan Patrick. Politics is as much about personality as it is anything else, and politicians that are seen as being more about themselves than anything else are generally not as popular with their peers as the team players are. There are show horses and there are work horses, and Patrick’s a show horse all the way. I strongly suspect the number of Republicans that won’t be too unhappy to see him fall on his face is higher than average.
Having said all that, this is a classic case of being careful what you wish for. Patrick may be more likely than the other Republican Lite Guv candidates to lose to Van de Putte, but that doesn’t mean that he is likely to lose. Any Republican is the clear favorite to win until we get more reliable polling evidence that says otherwise. If Dan Patrick is the Lite Guv nominee we want the most, he’s also the one we want to see get elected the least. It’s high risk, high reward. As the underdog we have to take those odds, but we also have to keep the stakes in perspective. Texpatriate has more.