The runoff between Dan Patrick and David Dewhurst, the two remaining GOP Lieutenant Governor candidates in Texas is May 27th. Neither choice is ideal, and both are running what, in my opinion, are lackluster campaigns. Nevertheless, liberty-minded Republicans (including my original choice for Lt. Governor Jerry Patterson) are leaning toward the current Lt. Governor, David Dewhurst, which I sympathize with despite prior wounds from the last Texas Senate race in which Dewhurst was a candidate.
Looking back to 2012, I was a hardcore Ted Cruz supporter during the Texas Senate primary. I certainly engaged in my share of Dewhurst bashing at the time. Some of it I regret in light of finally interacting with the Lieutenant Governor (I wish he’d been more accessible to the grassroots back then, as it would have served him well. He’s a very likable man in small group settings).
What I stand by however, is the fact that the Dewhurst campaign released some really classless ads against Cruz. Despite preferring Dewhurst over Patrick in the current Lt. Gov runoff by a significant margin, I’ve been quite vocal about the fact that I’m still having a hard time getting over many of those ads. Especially the not-so-subtle race baiting “Cruz supports amnesty” one.
However, one of the reasons I’ve chosen Dewhurst over Patrick despite my concerns is because I’ve never heard the Lieutenant Governor personally use the divisive rhetoric that, unfortunately, his Senate campaign was reduced to utilizing in the aforementioned attack ad. Sadly, I cannot say the same of State Senator Patrick, who regularly engages in insensitive commentary, handing ready-made talking points to Battleground Texas operatives.
But now, I find myself frustrated yet again by the tone deafness of Dewhurst’s campaign, despite my new-found appreciation of his reasoned approach to accomplishing legislative goals in his current role. The recently released “Dannie Goeb” parody of a song from “Frozen” is just bizarre, and is rightfully getting made fun of across the internet. Instead of focusing on the serious problems with Dan Patrick (and there are many), Dewhurst’s campaign is choosing to highlight the fact that Patrick changed his name, and has appeared in public shirtless.
The overall level of discourse in this race has been a disappointment to me. I know that attack ads are more effective than positive ones, and I don’t have a fundamental problem with going negative. But the “Frozen” ad reeks of desperation, and makes it look like there’s nothing substantive to criticize Patrick on, which is simply false. That being said, I’m still supporting David Dewhurst despite wondering what goes on in the man’s mind when he OK’s ads that go out under his name.
Another relevant point is to remind Ron Paul supporters outraged over his recent endorsement of Dewhurst that this is nothing new. Dr. Paul has been endorsing less than ideal politicians longer than those of us who jumped on the bandwagon in 2008 and 2012 have been alive. Sometimes, he actually exercises a bit of political savvy, and thinks about the the long-term impact of certain races. It’s much better to keep Dewhurst in a position he’s held for quite some time after he’s demonstrated that he can’t move much higher than to provide someone like Dan Patrick, who makes Dewhurst look like a saint, an upward trajectory.