State Sen. Dan Patrick, R – Houston, announced Thursday that he is joining the crowded race for Lieutenant Governor attempting to usurp incumbent David Dewhurst.
In a YouTube video posted to his website, Patrick promises "authentic conservative leadership" that would focus on border security, reforming business and property tax systems and the state's growing amount of debt.
Patrick will join a Republican primary that already includes Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples. Both Patterson and Staples have taken aim at Dewhurst following his inability to push through sweeping abortion legislation before the end the special session on Tuesday.
"Dan's a good man. He's been a good Senator. I'd like to see him continue in that role," said Patterson in an interview for WFAA-TV's Inside Texas Politics to air on Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
Patterson added that he expects the GOP primary to result in a runoff.
"Up until recently, the conventional wisdom [was] that it would be a runoff between David and somebody else. I'm not sure that's the case," Patterson explained. "There will be a runoff I'm not sure that we can assume that David Dewhurst is one of the participants in that runoff."
Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist, told News 8 he expects the four candidates to pull from all sides of the Republican base. Patterson, when he was a senator, authored the bill that allowed for concealed handguns. Dewhurst, explained Kennedy, "has been the business advocate part of what's being called the Texas miracle."
Patrick, a Christian talk show host who started the Tea Party caucus in 2010, is well-liked among religious conservatives. Staples has already been endorsed by Nolan Ryan and other prominent Texas businessmen, Kennedy said.
"You kind of have Guns vs. God vs. Ag vs. Business," Kennedy said. "You have a great four-way split for a Texas primary."
Dewhurst is coming under heat for losing control of the Senate on the final day of the special session earlier this week.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D – Fort Worth, on Tuesday led a 10-hour filibuster against Senate Bill 5, which would have added heavier requirements against the 42 clinics that provide abortions. Thirty-seven would've been forced to stop performing them completely.
Dewhurst was unable to secure a vote before the midnight deadline, blaming it on an "unruly mob" of pro-choice supporters who gathered and shouted in the rotunda of the State Capitol. While Patrick has not placed blame on Dewhurst, Patterson has –– saying Dewhurst's "leadership failures are a ridiculous embarrassment to the Texas Senate and to every pro-life advocate in the state."
However, Patrick has a history of filing legislation involving abortion regulation. In 2011 he authored Senate Bill 16, which forced doctors performing abortions to show their patients a sonogram before performing it.
News 8's Jason Whitely contributed to this report