Last night, I attended the “victory party” for the David Dewhurst campaign. As one may have expect, the affair for the Lieutenant Governor was rather somber as a result of his crushing defeat at the hands of State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Harris County), who usurped the nomination away from the three-term incumbent. In other news from around the State, State Senator Ken Paxton (R-Collin County) defeated State Representative Dan Branch (R-Dallas County) to win the GOP nomination for Attorney General and former State Representative Sid Miller (R-Erath County) defeated former State Representative Tommy Merritt (R-Gregg County) to win the GOP nomination for Agriculture Commissioner. Ryan Sitton also won the Republican primary runoff for the Railroad Commission, besting former State Representative Wayne Christian (R-Shelby County). All in all, it was a fantastic night for the Tea Party in an election cycle where they are losing all over the rest of the country.
Whenever I go to an election watch party, I invariably attempt to befriend the younger faces, out of familiarity I suppose. As a fun aside, this was the first election where some of those “younger faces” were actually younger than me, but that is neither here nor there. What stuck out to me was the degree of hatred pointed toward Patrick that many held. Most everyone I talked to pledged to not vote for Dan Patrick in the fall, with many of them willing to thrust eager support behind State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor.
“It doesn’t matter anyways, Texas will be a blue state in 10 years,” one of them even said. I was shocked at how many of his compatriots appeared to tacitly agree with such a viewpoint, long the immaculate bread and butter of Democratic politics. You know my opinion on this subject, however. It is going to get worse before it is going to get better, and last night was yet another huge step backwards.
You can see the map that I created after the preliminary primary at this link. Simply put, it would be an oversimplification to see that Dan Patrick picked up support from Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson supporters, as Patterson only won one county and Staples was only victorious in a handful of counties in the east. Make no mistake, Dan Patrick did much better than that.
Patrick got over 65% of the vote, just shy of 2/3rds. It was a landslide. Whereas his victory in March was far more based in the suburbs, it was ubiquitous last night. Dewhurst won just a few assorted counties in the Valley, as well as in the Edwards plateau. Travis County, the home of Austin, was also won by the Lieutenant Governor.
A lot of Democrats, meanwhile, were excited by this news. Most pointed to Van de Putte with some semblance of confidence that she could capably take on Patrick in November. Simply put, sagacious followers of my opinion will surely be familiar with the high level of respect I hold toward Van de Putte, but I am suspicious nonetheless of the premise that a more extreme Republican causes moderate voters to cross over. It did not happen with Ted Cruz, it did not happen with Rick Perry and it will never happen.