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DALLAS -- Confrontational doesn't describe David Dewhurst.

But after what happened Tuesday night in the abortion bill filibuster, the lieutenant governor is stepping up his rhetoric, trying to get re-elected and looking for the money to do so.

The important thing about raising money here is he has to show he has support, said Fort Worth Star-Telegram political commentator Bud Kennedy.

In a tough-talking e-mail to donors, Dewhurst blasted Democrats for that senate meltdown, calling it Obama-style, mob rule politics.

It's about who hates Obama the most, Kennedy said. That's what's going to decide the Republican primary. David Dewhurst is trying to get out front and say he's the one who hates Obama more than anyone else and he should be the nominee.

Houston Senator Dan Patrick announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor Thursday, making it a four-way race including Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. All three challengers lean further to the right than Dewhurst.

Patrick is a conservative radio talk show host supported by the tea party.

He's been a good senator, Jerry Patterson said of Patrick. I'd like to see him continue in that role.

On a taping of Inside Texas Politics to air Sunday morning, Patterson offered a prediction.

There will be a runoff, he said. I'm not sure that we can assume that David Dewhurst is one of the participants in that runoff.

In the past, Dewhurst hasn't faced such competition to keep his seat -- especially from more conservative candidates.

His millions might not matter, unless he re-emerges farther right.

Re-election could be rough.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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