Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick formally announced Monday he’s running for re-election, looking to finally quell speculation he’s interested in higher office.
Patrick also endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott for re-election, saying he works well with the freshman incumbent. Patrick has repeatedly said he won’t run for governor but has been dogged by rumors he could move forward with it.
“We are a great team,” Patrick told reporters of the Republican duo. “We work well together. We agree 96, 97 percent of the time — I can’t even name the 3 percent we don’t.”
Patrick also announced he raised almost $5 million in the second half of last year and has $13.6 million cash on hand for his re-election race. He is required to report those figures to the Texas Ethics Commission later this month.
Patrick has repeatedly said he plans to run for re-election, but has been dogged by rumors he could challenge Abbott or even U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Asked Monday if he would also endorse Cruz for re-election, Patrick did not go as far as he did with Abbott.
“I have not seen that” he’s running for re-election, Patrick said of Cruz. “Sen. Cruz is a very good friend of mine, and I think when the appropriate time comes, you’ll see me make a decision.”
Patrick also said Monday he was uncertain whether support exists in the Legislature for so-called constitutional carry, which would give all Texans the right to openly carry a firearm — with or without a permit.
In a radio interview, Patrick noted that last session lawmakers passed legislation allowing the open carry of handguns, a proposal whose support he had also questioned at the start of the session.
“On constitutional carry, I’ll say the same thing: I don’t know if the votes are there,” Patrick told San Antonio host Trey Ware.
Patrick did express some wariness about constitutional carry, citing law enforcement concerns. Patrick has made championing police a priority, especially after a shooting last year in Dallas that killed five officers and wounded seven others.
“I think with all the police violence today we have in our state … law enforcement does not like the idea of anyone being able to walk down the street with a gun and they don’t know if they have a permit or not,” Patrick said.
Some conservative members of the House are already pushing for constitutional carry ahead of the 85th session, which opens Tuesday. State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, has authored a bill proposing the practice.