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A North Texas Republican's surprise endorsement of a Democrat is the talk across state politics

Tarrant County Republican Judge Glen Whitley threw his support to the Democratic candidate for Texas lieutenant governor.

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley is wrapping up his last year at his downtown office in the administration building.  His most recent announcement has quickly become of the talk across politics not just in the county, but across Texas.

Whitley recently appeared on WFAA's award-winning podcast Y'all-itics, where he shocked Texas politics when it comes to statewide elections.  

Whitley is a longtime Republican who has not always gone with the status quo in politics. 

"The one person who I will support statewide, that it will get me a little in trouble," Whitley said on the podcast, "Mike Collier for lieutenant governor."

Collier is the Democrat running against Republican incumbent Dan Patrick. 

The Tarrant County judge blames Patrick for the state ignoring financial obligations like state prisoner expenses.

"So, when they pass a law down there, or they force us to keep their prisoners, that's a state-mandated property tax increase. We used to call it unfunded mandates," said Whitley.

Patrick declined WFAA's interview about the endorsement. 

But on Twitter, Patrick wrote

"It's no surprise Judge Whitley, who made Tarrant County property taxes among the highest in Texas, doesn't get it. People are being taxed out of their homes by big spending local governments. Collier and Whitley are two-of-a-kind, tax-hiking, big spenders." 

Collier shared with WFAA  that local spending has been at the center of talks between him and Whitley in the past. Those talks have included how much Tarrant County has to spend due to a lack of state funding support. 

"I am honored he has endorsed me," said Mike Collier, "We have talked many times over the years about the reason why property taxes are exploding."

While local Republicans in Tarrant County call Whitley's endorsement disappointing, local Democrats hope Whitley's endorsement pays off.  

Kendyll Locke serves as the Tarrant County Democratic Party's vice chair. He has met Whitley in the past and describes him as a person concerned about local spending because he is a voter like everyone else.

Locke said, "I think we're going to see a lot more of that from a lot of other individuals as we near the election."

In a statement to WFAA, Tarrant County Republican Party chair Rick Barnes said:

"While I am disappointed in the endorsement Mr. Whitley has made against Lt. Governor Patrick, I am not at all surprised. Mr. Whitley has not been in line with the Republican Party for some time now and he continues that position today. Fortunately, Mr. Whitley does not lead the Party in any manner, and we will continue to work hard in supporting our entire Republican ticket, from Governor to Constable."

Despite endorsing a Democrat on the state level, Whitley is convinced Texas will remain a red state.  

He even shared with Y'all-itics that he has no concerns about Texas turning purple, which would indicate a move that Republican voters are starting to vote Democrat. 

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