HOUSTON — The morning after the Texas primary elections, the Republican Party's candidates for lieutenant governor were ramping up for the second — and decisive — leg of their race.
That includes the incumbent, David Dewhurst, who is vying for a fourth and final term — though not from the position he had hoped.
When Dewhurst took the podium at his Houston watch party Tuesday night, he did not give a concession speech, but the mood was not quite as festive as it seemed.
As predicted, there will be a May runoff between Dewhurst and State Sen. Dan Patrick. But to the shock of many, it was Patrick who came out on top with 41 percent of the vote. Dewhurst finished with 28 percent in a four-man race. Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson shared the remaining 30 percent of the vote.
- VOTE TOTALS: Republican lieutenant governor race
Dewhurst remained confident in addressing supporters.
"We're starting all over again with a brand-new election," he said Tuesday night. "I know how to win it, and we’re going to win it on May 27th!"
We asked to speak to Dewhurst Wednesday for more reaction to Tuesday’s vote, but his team said he was not available.
Dan Patrick was.
"I’m not saying we expected the lead to be as large," he said from his office Wednesday morning. "I think we finished 14 points ahead... it’s a pretty big finish."
The day after the primary, he’s crediting North Texas for playing a big role in his success.
"The first boxes reported, the first counties, were Tarrant, Collin, Denton and Dallas. We were 57 percent in Collin; 55 percent in Denton; 52 percent in Tarrant and 52 percent in Dallas. That was amazing,” Patrick said. “When we saw those numbers, we knew we were in good shape.”
So with one hurdle over, the campaign continues, and Patrick hopes to keep the upsets coming.
Dewhurst has said if he wins a fourth term as lieutenant governor, it would be his last.
Both men will spend the next 83 days crossing the state to rally supporters ahead of the May 27 GOP runoff election.