State Sen. Dan Patrick’s victory over incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican runoff for lieutenant governor on Tuesday night came as no surprise.
And while the conciliatory tone that marked his victory speech — in which he pledged to make inroads with Hispanics — sounded nothing like the fiery immigration rhetoric voters are accustomed to, political observers say it’s an approach Patrick will have to take in a general election battle against Leticia Van de Putte, a Latina state senator from San Antonio.
“Before you can get someone’s vote, you have to respect them enough to go talk with them and explain who you are,” Patrick said Tuesday after election returns showed he had overwhelmingly defeated Dewhurst. “It won’t be overnight, but it’s going to start tomorrow morning.”
Patrick’s race against Van de Putte, who has criticized the Houston senator for calling the influx of undocumented immigrants from Mexico an “illegal invasion,” could serve as a test case for both parties to gauge their outreach and appeal to an increasingly crucial voting bloc.
While some Hispanic Republicans have said they will cross over to vote for Van de Putte instead of Patrick in the general election, Hector De Leon, chairman of the Associated Republicans of Texas, predicted Patrick will recover from criticism about his remarks because the state is so reliably Republican.
But De Leon, who has referred to Patrick’s “illegal invasion” remark as “thinly veiled racism,” added that Patrick’s success among Hispanic voters will depend on his ability to turn his “good words” on Tuesday “into good deeds” in the next six months.
He also said Patrick’s outreach efforts could be “too little, too late” if Van de Putte is able to raise enough money to build a narrative about him across the state. Since jumping into the race in November, she has not raised the kind of campaign cash her opponent has — though she didn’t have an expensive primary battle like Patrick did. In January, the last time both candidates filed a campaign finance report, Patrick had raised three times as much money as Van de Putte.
Yeah, even Aaron Pena can’t smear enough lipstick on this cabrón to make it presentable. The bit about Sen. Van de Putte needing to raise enough money to get the message out about Patrick is the key. Assuming she can, it’s a simple matter to highlight a few of Patrick’s juicier quotes, then pair them with what he’s now saying, and ask which one is the lie. Patrick has more than revealed his true character. He may as well stick with it.