AUSTIN (AP) — State Sen. Dan Patrick has defeated three-term incumbent David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor.
Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Patrick said the people of Texas had given him a "mandate," and he offered special thanks to his tea party supporters.
"Welcome to the grass roots of the Republican Party!" he said. "Tea party folks love America; and they love the Constitution; and they love free markets; and they love the Second Amendment; and they love Texas; and they love the liberty that was granted to them by God, and not government."
Patrick was wearing a tie depicting a Ferris wheel; the same tie he wore on his wedding day.
The mood was clearly more somber at Dewhurst headquarters in Houston Tuesday night. The veteran Republican said he is comforted knowing that Texas "is a better place than when we found it."
Dewhurst spoke to a group of about 100 supporters, and told them he would offer his support to Patrick in the fall election.
"I don't think anyone runs for office unless they think they can win, unless in their hearts they want to win. and i wanted to win this election for you," Dewhurst said.
"I Just made a phone call to Dan Patrick," Dewhurst added. "I congratulated him on his victory and wished him the very best."
Patrick, the firebrand radio talk show host, won a bruising campaign that had boiled down into personal attacks in recent weeks, including revelations that he had been treated for depression in the 1980s.
Patrick advances to the November general election to face Democratic nominee state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.
Patrick rode a wave of tea party support in the chase for one of the most powerful political jobs in Texas as both he and Dewhurst jockeyed over who was more conservative.
The loss likely ends Dewhurst's political career. The Houston energy mogul has held statewide office since 1999 but has said this would probably be his final campaign.
WFAA contributed to this report.