Texas lieutenant governor race: Who is Dan Patrick?

Four men are running for the Republican nomination this primary, and one of them is State Sen. Dan Patrick
February 27, 2014 4:45:24 PM PST
The race for lieutenant governor is one of the most competitive on this year's Republican Primary ballot. Four men are running for the Republican nomination, and one of them is State Sen. Dan Patrick.

We'd hoped we'd be able to talk to Sen. Patrick and see him on the campaign trail. His team turned us down repeatedly. But Patrick is not a private man, and has lived a public life for decades.

This is the Sen. Patrick we know -- energetic, enthusiastic and sure of his own self and his own ideas.

"Make no mistake - everything is on the line in this election," he once told a crowd. "You need a lieutenant governor who is going to secure the border, end sanctuary cities, end in-state tuition, lower your property taxes, pass campus carry and pass school choice."

But Houston first met Patrick back in the Houston Oiler days. In the early 1980s, Patrick was a sportscaster in town known for outrageous stunts.

Patrick owned a sports bar after that, and it's been in the news a bit lately. When the oil bust hit, it busted Patrick. He filed for bankruptcy in 1986, owing creditors hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Today, he doesn't hide from the lessons he claims it taught him.

"I learned from that. It made me the fiscal conservative that I am because I am 63 today, I was 35 then," he said in an interview posted on YouTube.

But he seemed to find his calling and no doubt found an audience on the radio. Patrick now owns radio stations in Houston and Dallas, and has been a long time political talk show host.

"I've been on the radio for 20 years, I've been talking about these things," Patrick said.

Eventually talking about politics led Patrick to the ballot and he won a state senate seat from the west side of Houston in 2006 with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

After his first session, "Texas Monthly" called him a bully and an ideologue. His constituents didn't seem to mind; he was re-elected in 2010 with 86 percent of the vote. And last session says he was the true conservative in the state senate.

Patrick makes no secret of courting the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party Primary in this race, and if he wins, he promises to reward the Republican majority in the senate even more than Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has.

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