Bud Kennedy

March 20, 2014

Dewhurst hints he’ll have more to say about Patrick

The lieutenant governor says he’s the only nominee who won’t “embarrass” Texas.

After 11 years in office, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says Texas voters don’t know him.

More ominously, he says we have more to learn more about runoff opponent Dan Patrick.

Speaking to a Republican women’s club Thursday in Patrick-friendly Arlington, Dewhurst said Texas voters soon will learn more about the bombastic Houston state senator and radio show host advertising himself on Facebook as “Christian Leader.”

In an interview taped for telecast Sunday on WFAA/Channel 8, Dewhurst said if Republicans want a lieutenant governor with “integrity … the people of Texas can trust, that won’t embarrass them,” he should be the nominee for a fourth term presiding over the Texas Senate.

Even as former supporter Mike Huckabee of Arkansas stumped for Patrick in Dallas, Dewhurst said the two-term state senator with the same name as a famous sports host is not telling the truth.

Patrick “made a number of untrue statements about me,” Dewhurst said, and “at the same time he’s saying, ‘Let’s run a positive campaign.’ ”

Dewhurst tamped down his comments slightly from a Friday interview in the Houston Chronicle, where he called Patrick a “showboat” who couldn’t work with other senators.

At the Dallas event Thursday, former Southern Baptist pastor Huckabee repeated his endorsement for Patrick, author of 2002’s The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read: A Personal Challenge to Read the Bible.

Outpreachered, Dewhurst said in the WFAA interview he doesn’t “wear my faith on my sleeve” and “Scripture reminds us to pray in private.”

“I pray with groups all the time,” he said, “but I don’t have to go tell people I’m a Christian.”

Facing an opponent with 22 years as a bellicose radio host, Dewhurst wouldn’t say whether his ads will use Patrick audio.

But Dewhurst smiled at the question.

Patrick has “been a talk show host and been a disc jockey,” he said.

“I’m a problem-solver. I’m a lifelong businessman.”

To the Republican Women of Arlington, he brought up business issues rarely discussed anymore: Texas’ need for more water, dependable power, better highways and a well-educated workforce.

Dewhurst said he helped build the “best business climate in the country,” saying Texas is one of the three most frugal states and one of four with the lowest taxes.

That business climate came up when reporters asked both rivals about the state Lilly Ledbetter Act expanding women’s right to sue for equal pay.

The Texas Senate and House both passed it last year, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it. Gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott said he supports equal pay but opposes the bill.

Dewhurst told WFAA the Senate “already addressed” the law. Patrick told the station Texas doesn’t need one.

Patrick said men and women should be paid the same. But using the same argument once used against the Civil Rights Act, he said: “I just don’t believe government should interfere with the free market.”

Patrick also invited Dewhurst for four debates before the runoff May 27.

If we don’t know them yet, we soon will.

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