A New Turn For the Texas Lieutenant Governor’s Race

by | Oct 13, 2022 | 2022 Elections, Politics

With less than a month until election day, Texas state-wide races are coming to a head with many neck and neck, according to recent polling

But one race in particular sticks out from the rest on the Democratic ticket, with a slew of long-time Republicans supporting the candidate. 

Democratic candidate Mike Collier’s campaign for lieutenant governor of Texas against incumbent Republican Dan Patrick shows elected officials stepping away from party lines. 

What Republicans are supporting Collier and why? 

In the last few months, four Republican officials endorsed Collier, including State Rep. Lyle Larson, former Texas Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, and retiring Texas Sen. Kel Seliger. 

On Thursday, Collier added three more Republican endorsements to the list, including retirees Rep. Byron Cook, Rep. Bennett Ratliff, and former Dallas Mayor Steve Barlett. 

“Unlike Washington D.C., defined by partisan gridlock, the Texas Legislature had historically been led by statesmen of both parties who always put Texans first, working together to find honest solutions to real problems,” the officials wrote in a statement. “With Mike Collier as Lt. Governor, we hope to restore the Legislature to that spirit.”

In terms of issues facing Texans, Larson said Patrick’s record on supporting private school vouchers, blocking Medicaid expansion, and creating barriers for voters are just a few examples of why he isn’t voting for the incumbent in November. 

“[Dan] blocked any opportunity to have a statewide vote on medical cannabis in spite of veteran groups all over the state asking for a statewide vote to reduce PTSD,” Larson wrote in a statement. 

“The states that have passed it have seen a reduction of up to 40% in opioid prescriptions. Looking at all of this, no HR director in the country would recommend that he should run a 250 billion dollar organization.”

So who is Mike Collier? 

Collier has never served in a public office but has had a long career as a certified public accountant and auditor in the energy industry. 

In his two years on the campaign trail, Collier has focused heavily on property tax relief and improving the electric grid– top issues from his Republican endorsers.  

“We’re building a coalition not just across the state but across the aisle,” Collier said in a September interview with Whitley. “There is a real hunger in the state for leaders that don’t play partisan games and don’t sow division and vitriol.” 

As a former Republican himself, Collier is a candidate who strays away from the typical voting bloc of the Democratic Party. This is Collier’s second time running against Patrick, losing only by five points in 2018. He also ran for state comptroller in 2014. 

What exactly does the Texas Lieutenant Governor do? 

According to the state constitution, the lieutenant governor covers five duties in Austin, including appointing chairs for the state’s 80+ committees and deciding when it’s time to vote on a bill. The Senate must approve a bill with a majority vote before it can be sent to the governor’s desk for an official signature. Furthermore, the lieutenant governor acts as governor if the governor is out of state or absent. 

 Who is Dan Patrick? 

Before being elected into public office, Patrick was a conservative radio show host known for stirring controversy on his platform. According to United Press International, Patrick debuted a vasectomy live on his show– encouraging men listening to undergo the procedure. After his Houston-based radio talk show, he served eight years as a Texas state Senator before running for lieutenant governor. 

Regardless of his politics, Patrick is known for voicing some of the most controversial political statements in Texas politics.

 For example, in 2021, while Republican politicians across the country were resistant to implementing CDC guidelines and safety protocols for Covid-19 amid a surge in cases, Patrick blamed the spread of the virus on African-Americans. 

“The biggest group in most states are African-Americans who have not been vaccinated, and the last time I checked, over 90 percent of them vote for Democrats,” Patrick said. 

At the time, 5.7 million white Texans were unvaccinated in the state compared to 1.8 million Black Texans, KHOU reported. 

Patrick is also the candidate who famously said grandparents should sacrifice themselves to save the Texas economy and “get back to work” during the pandemic’s peak. 

“We can’t lose our whole country [if] we’re having an economic collapse,” Patrick said in the 2020 interview with Fox News Host Tucker Carlson. 

According to the latest poll, Patrick led Collier by five points. He ran an attack against the Democratic nominee earlier this week, tying him to President Joe Biden- a similar tactic Abbott used against gubernatorial candidate Beto O’ Rourke. 

Election Day for this race is Nov. 8.

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Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.

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