Bradford Enters at Patrick's Zenith
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TRAYCE BRADFORD, past president of the Texas Eagle Forum, announced a challenge to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in the 2022 GOP primary.
Before delving too far into all things Patrick front, he’s no Dewhurst and remains the odds on favorite to take the oath of office for a third term in 2023. Still, a challenge is welcome if for no other purpose to refine and refocus the incumbent.
The Texas Senate under Patrick has been a (mostly) conservative body. Patrick tends to be directionally correct but with a painfully predictable propensity to embark on the cringe. While manageable, these moments come with a political cost (see Patrick’s underperformance in the 2018 general election).
From the GOP primary perspective, however, the “Senate good House bad” narrative remains accurate enough that Patrick’s old playbook should work in 2022.
While criticisms of his record exist, they tend to be too obscure to have political salience. The Second Amendment is a great example.
Anyone who watches the Texas legislature closely can tell you that Patrick’s commitment to gun rights is...inconsistent. Patrick publicly flirted with gun control following the El Paso shooting in 2019 and slow-walked permitless carry in 2021. Both times to the consternation of Texas GOP activists.
But because Patrick backed down both times (thank you, Dana Loesch), the previous paragraph is irrelevant for campaign purposes.
If you try to attack Patrick over the Second Amendment, he’ll brag about passing the bill he tried to kill behind the scenes. No matter how crazy that playbook drives, the type of person who reads newsletters like these, it’s a playbook Patrick knows how to execute.
But that’s not to say Bradford’s bid is ill-conceived. Far from it. While Bradford is an extreme underdog to be Texas’ Lieutenant Governor in 2023, with a good campaign, she can determine the Texas Senate’s agenda through 2027, a praiseworthy outcome.
Bradford would be well advised to focus her campaign on abolishing property taxes and taking a more thorough approach to election integrity.
While Patrick doesn’t bear primary responsibility for the decriminalization of illegal voting debacle, his sloppiness and failure to correctly leverage the budget during the regular session allowed it to happen. Also, maybe the Texas Senate could stop rubber-stamping appointees to University Boards’ of Regents.
This challenge comes when Patrick is enjoying a record level of power in the state of Texas (see next item).
KEL SELIGER can tell you what you need to know about Dan Patrick’s current level of political capital. Late yesterday, President Trump endorsed Kevin Sparks, one of Seliger’s announced challengers. Patrick reportedly procured this endorsement as he’s allegedly landed others this election cycle.
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