The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once wrote that a gun introduced in the first act must be fired in the third, and apparently the same holds true for gun-toting land commissioners. Remember Jerry Patterson, the gun-carrying, libertarian-minded iconoclast who waged his own odd fight for the Republican lieutenant governor primary nod before placing a distant fourth? He warned after the election that he didn’t yet know if he was going to endorse anybody, but added that he couldn’t, in good conscience, support a “liar.” He meant Dan Patrick, with whom Patterson had sparred over issues of trust and truthfulness. Then, for a little over a month, silence from the House of Patterson.
But this morning, two weeks before the May 27th runoff election, Patterson returned. Bearing what the kids call a listicle, naturally. And an accusation so serious, and so loaded, that Dewhurst would have been unwise to make it himself. (It turns out Patterson probably shouldn’t have, either.)
Patterson’s top ten reasons not to vote for Patrick included some pretty standard digs. Patrick is a liar. Democrats want to run against Patrick. But No. 3—that Dan Patrick is a draft dodger—was new. What a bombshell.
Patterson gave the press a carefully-annotated list of reasons to question Patrick’s lack of service in the era of military conscription. He was born in 1950. He had a relatively low draft number. And a student deferment wouldn’t have prevented him from serving eventually. This was a weighty charge coming from Patterson, a proud Marine aviator who volunteered to serve in Vietnam.
Wow. This could change the race. What say you, Dan?
In 1972, after being drafted, Dan reported for a physical examination to Fort Holabird in Baltimore, Maryland. Dan was quickly determined medically ineligible to serve due to childhood injuries. Dan had broken his right leg twice due to a bone cyst and doctors thought it might cause him to lose the limb. He also had suffered a serious knee injury while playing high school sports. These injuries prevented him from being accepted into the service and he received a medical deferment.
Did Dewhurst’s team vet Patterson’s allegations before the press conference, or was he on his own? Either way, the inability of Patrick’s Republican enemies to shoot straight continues to be wholly remarkable.