Sen. Leticia Van de Putte ended months of speculation when she threw her hat into the race for Lt. Governor on Saturday in front of a packed house in the San Antonio College gymnasium. Van de Putte's family has experienced multiple tragedies this year which complicated her decision, but in the end it was the Senator's daughter who introduced her and assured the crowd that the final decision was made at the family table.
“Mama's not happy,” Van de Putte exclaimed after she took the stage and thanked her family, “My family knows what that means – when Mamma's not happy, ain't nobody happy.” She lambasted the current leadership in Austin for being more concerned about their next political move than addressing the needs of Texas families, saying that, “to them, the real-life priorities of too many mainstream Texas families simply don't exist.” With that she addressed the candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Lt. Gov. and observed, “It gets whackier every day. They're all trying to out-extremist one another…all four of them chasing after the most extreme five percent of Texans who control Republican primary elections.”
The race could be ostensibly seen as a continuation of the battle between Van de Putte and the embattled Lieutenant Governor who has been forced to sprint right after a Primary loss for US Senate to Ted Cruz. To that point, when Dewhurst was recently attacked by his primary opponents for appointing too many Democrats to Senate committee chairmanships he reassured the crowd that, “not one of them is one of the critical committees.” That didn't sit well with Van de Putte who chairs the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations (VAMI). LVP quickly and sharply responded, “Governor Dewhurst, I can assure you that the work of the VAMI committee is important- as a veteran, you should know this.”
Check below the jump for what LVP's style and substance adds to the Democrats' ticket…
Where so many campaigns prefer to play if safe and stick to the script, Van de Putte's sharp wit and take-it-to-em style is exactly what Democrats need to fire up the base and get the extra mile out of earned media. Her now famous quote from the floor of the Senate when she asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues,” could very well be just a preview of the dynamic she will create in this race. The campaign seems to also be prepared for this attribute as the copy of her speech provided to the media included an editor's note, “**Please note that the Senator frequently diverges from her prepared remarks**.”
Van de Putte brings her own star power to the Democratic ticket, but she also brings her relationships with the Hispanic and Veterans' communities, as well as San Antonio media market where voters may be less familiar with the Senator at the top of the ticket from Fort Worth. Having two high profile Senator's at the top of the ticket helps legitimize the party's efforts and relieve some pressure on Wendy Davis to single handedly bring Democrats across the finish line ahead of a statewide Republican for the first time since 1994.
Recent polls put both top candidates for the Democrats with in single digits of their conservative male counterparts, meaning, Van de Putte could once again help her friend Wendy beat the clock and win the day.
You can visit Leticia Van de Putte's official website here.
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photo: Carl Lindemann (http://inanityofsanity.blogspot.com/)