Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Patrick Michels

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


Eileen Smith

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

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

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

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.”