Texas Tea Party flexes its voting muscles

Houston state Sen. Dan Patrick, Tea Party favorite, author of anti-abortion legislation, advocate for school choice, seal-the-border campaigner and self-proclaimed Christian leader, didn’t just beat incumbent David Dewhurst and two other state officeholders in Tuesday’s Republican primary race for lieutenant governor. He walloped them.

Patrick took 41 percent of the vote and will meet first runner-up Dewhurst (28 percent) in a May 27 runoff. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples were also-rans.

Colleyville resident Konni Burton, early member and officer of the NE Tarrant Tea Party, active leader in her church, Patrick ally and promoter of small government and fiscal responsibility, took a commanding lead over her nearest opponent, physician and two-term legislator Mark Shelton, in the GOP race for the Texas Senate District 10 seat.

Tony Tinderholt, a 21-year military veteran but a political novice, touted Tea Party ideals and grabbed Arlington’s state House District 94 from four-term veteran Diane Patrick. Patrick was conservative enough to take the job away from longtime lawmaker and conservative stalwart Kent Grusendorf in 2006, but apparently not enough to hold on to it this year.

In race after race, Republicans in Tarrant County and across Texas delivered the same message: The Tea Party is strong, its “get government out of our lives” philosophy resonates deeply and its adherents go to the polls and vote.

In many Texas races, winning the GOP nomination is tantamount to winning the office.

Another message from Tuesday’s votes is just how much of an uphill struggle Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth has if she expects to win the November election for governor against the Republican nominee, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Davis got 432,025 votes in the Democratic primary, which pales next to the 1,219,831 that went for Abbott in the GOP contest.

Motivating voters is the name of the game. Tea Party Republicans are motivated and will vote for candidates who share their its principles. They have the lead.