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Gov, Lite: Meet the Four (Whacky) Candidates for Texas Lt. Governor

by Published on
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Patrick Michels

Most of the time I (semi-)accept the fact that I live in a red state where Republican primaries are bound to bring out the crazy. But sometimes I can’t help but look at the candidates and think: How did this happen? Who are these people? Where did they come from? And why are they here?

Welcome to the Texas lieutenant governor’s race. The incumbent, David Dewhurst, is running for reelection, pretending it’s the office he’s still interested in even though he really wanted that U.S. Senate seat that was ripped away from his very well-funded hands by Ted Cruz. So now Dewhurst is facing three challengers, three conservative white men each with his own brand of whacky.

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, the “Consistent Conservative”

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples
Patrick Michels
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples at the 2012 Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth.

While I’ll admit that Todd Staples has a leg up on foreign policy—he grew up in Palestine, Texas—lite guvs are rarely called upon to preside over the Middle East peace process. You can’t fault Staples for wanting to get out of the Department of Agriculture. There’s only so much you can do overseeing animal quarantine laws and pesticide safety. Which is probably why Staples decided to take on new responsibilities, like narco-terrorism. As a former rancher and a strong opponent of illegal immigration, Staples is a firm believer in securing the border, even if that means he has to get out there and build the freakin’ fence himself. The fence has become increasingly important because apparently Mexican drug cartels have declared war on Texas farmers and ranchers, which means they’ve declared war on our food supply. There is only ONE MAN who can save us from World War Z, and that man is Todd Staples… assuming the railroad commissioner doesn’t pull rank.

But there are things about Staples that will no doubt endear him to conservatives. He’s a champion of “traditional marriage” and as a senator he sponsored the constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man, one woman and the Texas Legislature. He’s been a darling of the pro-life movement (whether or not he gets their nod in this race is anybody’s guess). Oh—and apparently Nolan Ryan is his statewide chairman. Which would be totally awesome if this race could be decided by whose statewide chairman has the most devastating curveball.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, “Hasn’t Thought of a Tagline Quite Yet”

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Patrick Michels
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson at the 2012 Texas GOP Convention in Fort Worth.

I really know nothing about Jerry Patterson. Is there anything to know about Jerry Patterson? What does a “land commissioner” do anyway, besides take selfies of himself all day holding a gun? A land commissioner is like a poor man’s agriculture commissioner. I do know that Patterson valiantly spearheaded the cause of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, of which he was a proud and vocal member, for Confederate vanity license plates a couple years ago. But unfortunately celebrating racist history is no longer politically correct. (Don’t worry. You can still display your Confederate flag decals next to your “Ted Kennedy’s car has killed more people than my gun” bumper sticker.)

State Sen. Dan Patrick, the “Authentic Conservative”

Sen. Dan Patrick
Patrick Michels
Sen. Dan Patrick delivers a passionate speech in favor of House Bill 2.

It’s difficult to find the words to describe Dan Patrick.

Well, there is one word: ultrasound. Mandatory ultrasound for any woman considering an abortion. Because he was once a woman considering an abortion and he wants them to learn from his mistakes. Patrick has had little time for anything but ultrasounds since 2007. He was Mr. Ultrasound before mandatory ultrasounds were cool. The legislation finally passed in 2011 and it’s been a party ever since. (Look for Dewhurst—“Defender of the Pre-Born”—to try and piggyback on this one but good luck with that. He couldn’t even stop a woman—a woman! —from filibustering an anti-abortion bill for 11 hours. And he’s afraid of being cornered by an unruly mob of women and killed by tampons.)

Dan Patrick makes no secret of the fact that he is a very godly man—so godly that he once walked off the Senate floor in protest of a Muslim cleric leading the morning prayer. He also wrote a book entitled The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read, about reading the Bible, which I assume is the First Most Important Book but it could also be The Hunger Games.

Still the chapters do seem rather compelling.

  • Excuse #1: “But Dan… The Bible Is Too Hard To Understand”
  • Excuse #2: “But Dan… The Bible Isn’t Relevant For Today’s World”
  • Excuse #3: “But Dan… How Do I Know The Bible Is True?”
  • Excuse #4: “But Dan… I Already Know Right From Wrong”

And my personal favorite: “But Dan…You’re Such a Dolt.”

  • Dillard Jenkins

    The Power Of Myth.

  • derbradster

    Makes you miss Faroukh Shamey,eh?

  • SashaBlu

    For me it is between these two, Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson, Todd would endear himself to the Hispanics and the Illegal Consumers. No one cares about the others namely because most of the others are in jail or on paper. Sooo…not enough to count. Now Jerry the Sons of the Confederate Veterans Patterson well that really says it all. Should be interesting to see who comes out to support Jerry. But any of these four will make for an interesting campaign. I sure we will have some Akin and Murdock moments.

  • unclejeems

    I think Senator Patrick should have to go a mandatory colonoscopy, without the benefit of anesthesia, before each speech he makes the senate floor.

  • unclejeems

    I think a brick wall, about ten feet high and double-thick, should be built around Sen. Staple’s house. Utilities should be provided, as long as Sen. Staples can’t use the phone to call out. Openings should be left so that food and medicine can pass in. Medication in Sen. Staples case is very critical, so that detail shouldn’t be forgotten. Olanzapine and ziprasidone come to mind. But no other communication should be permitted. The wall should be guarded by drug mules who, according to Rep. King of Iowa, have calves as big as cantaloupes. These actions could possibly save the state from further embarrassment.

    Oh, wait, embarrassment–I forgot that Rick Perry has been governor for twelve years or so. Never mind.

  • haroldhuff

    This bunch make every stereotype of con men and sleazy preacher look like saints in comparison.

    • SoberMoney

      By “con man and sleazy preacher” – you must mean Dan Patrick?

  • unclejeems

    Commissioner Patterson is proud of his heritage. He should be allowed to play General Armistead in the next re-enactment of Pickett’s charge–with live ammunition, of course. No self-respecting gun nu—uh, supporter of our precious Second Amendment rights would be caught dead–wink, wink!–in a gun fight with nothing but blanks.

  • SoberMoney

    I hope the worst man wins. Maybe then the right wing nut voters of Texas will start acknowledging that they have been very ignorant and very lazy.

    “A another step backwards is a great leap forward.”

  • AirFrank

    Well Ms Smith that’s the beauty of this great nation. If you don’t like the state that you live in you can move, Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. For all you other liberals you should study history. You liberals ran Texas from reconstruction up until 1993 and Texas was the laughing stock of the nation. Jim crow laws, discrimination against blacks. You founded and ran the KKK. In 1994 the conservatives took over every statewide office and have held them ever since. And now look at Texas. Economic growth greater than every other state. Unemployment below the national average. People moving her in droves due to opportunity. Not so much in those liberals bastions, CA, IL, NY and NJ

    So keep preaching your hate. Your true colors show then.

    • SocraticGadfly

      Actually, the conservative wing of Tejas Dems often ran this stat, so, Frank, YOU should study history. Ppl moving here in droves? Many of them would be illegal aliens working marginal jobs. KKK? The people who founded it are the intellectual and moral predecessors of today’s GOP, as vote caging and other things show. Frank, when’s the last time you cracked a history book?

      • AirFrank

        Why just last week. You liberals can spew the southern democrat turned republican all day long but that dog don’t run. Robert Byrd, Grand Cyclops of the KKK, was the longest running member of the senate and a life long DEMOCRAT. Doesn’t it just suck when history doesn’t support your wrong view?

        • martinez

          Actually AirFrank Texas ALWAYS votes on the most conservative and as times change so do the political parties views. So yes Texas USE to be democrates BUT that was when the democrats had the views of today republicans… Source: Degree in Texas history

          • Paolina

            Martinez, you are assuming racism only exists in one party. I’ve met Democratic voters (Hillary supporters) who literally voted against Obama solely on his race and even used the N word to describe him while I was waiting to vote. The conservatives by comparison were all polite.

            Also the Democratic party of old AND new has ALWAYS been socialist, so some things never change. It used to be a religious, socialist party (think Huey Long, FDR, etc.) so it’s unfair to pretend the old democrats ALL went to the GOP. The religious ones have, sure, but the socialist racists stayed in the democratic party. And at least religious racists know their racism is against their faith so they try to be better people and improve. Whereas the socialist ones, Huey Long types, just hide it publicly but build up resentment deep down.

            The GOP has almost always been a party of capitalism even back in the 1920’s or further back (i.e. Calvin Coolidge). And the Democrats were socialists back then. So not much has changed. The “Nixon strategy” at most only shifted a few percentage points of people (enough to win an election), it did NOT change the loyalties of the majority of voters.

          • martinez

            Where exactly did I state that all racist reside in the republican party? I

          • Cindy

            what country are you from?

          • martinez

            The United States of America. How is that important? What country are you from?

        • martinez

          Read a book moron @AirFrank:disqus

    • MarkRutledge

      Agreed Frank. After reading this sophomoric piece I can only conclude that the “wacky” one here is Eileen Smith.

    • Cindy

      I like your message. God bless you for speaking out.

  • Mark

    And people wonder why I have written letters to the editor to European newspapers advising Europeans NOT to visit the US, and especially to stay out of Texas.

    What have I written? That right-wing xenophobes have pretty much taken over and the United States is verging on civil war; that foreign visitors run a significant risk of being assaulted and/or shot, and if they are shot the attitude is “shoot first and ask questions later”; that if foreign guests run into any legal problems while visiting they’re pretty much on their own and may have charges leveled against them for crimes they didn’t commit — and that these may be capital felony charges involving the death penalty or life in prison with no parole; and if foreign guests get sick they will need to pay the entire cost for their treatment up front before they will receive any treatment for their illnesses.

    I’ve also sent pictures of the big crater in West, Texas to state representatives and news outlets in Connecticut, Maryland, New York and New Hampshire as examples of what happens in a state with no real safety regulations; along with Perry’s record of creating low-wage, part-time jobs in Texas, the number of Texans living below poverty, and the number of Texans who have no health insurance. I believe those are all the states which Rick Perry visited. Seems like I’m just un-doing all his work, aren’t I?

    Now, you just have yourself a super-duper, extra-special, Marvie-doo Gardens type of day with lemon drops and lollipops and big, bright, gay rainbows all tied up with sunshine, AirFrank and MarkRutledge!

  • john leatherman

    Dewhurst wins against any one of these three…. Hands down!

  • Cindy

    Wow, after reading some of these comments, it seems alot of left wing socialists are interested in who serves in Texas. Just jealous because Texas is successful, beautiful, governed well and most of all…everybody wants to come here! I especially like the comment from some guy that says in Texas we are ignorant and lazy. Sorry, but you must be talking about DC or maybe NY. HA Ha Dan Patrick will make a great lieutenant. governor. Most of yall don’t like religion or having babies born but we do in Texas so EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT. Oh and Eric Holder, you criminal, stay out of Texas. Period!!! (any of yall heard that word before!!??) Finally God bless you Rick Perry for all you have done for us.

  • mrtapeguy

    Well, Dewhurst is almost as douchey as Ted Cruz but he’s not completely nuts. I do have to laugh at this childish antics though. I am a firm supporter of gun rights but seriously Dave…”Come and get it Obama?”

    When will politicians ever grow up?