The race for Lieutenant Governor in Texas — which just happens to be the contest for the most powerful position in state government — is making headlines.
Governing Magazine rated the Texas race as the most interesting Lite Gov contest in the nation, citing the negative impact of Republican Dan Patrick's Tea Party extremism on functioning government.
The article also cites the credibility of Democratic nominee, Senator Letiticia Van de Putte, and the historic role of the Senate in promoting compromise and consensus — two words Dan Patrick would have to look up in a dictionary.
This is a race every Texan needs to care about. Van de Putte out-raised Patrick on the July 15th fundraising report. Moderate Republicans quietly prefer the Democrat. She has the potential to really fire up the Latino electorate in Texas. And, she released the best convention video of all time. All time!
Read what Governing had to say about the race below the jump!Governing Magazine is essentially a publication for people who work in or around state and local governments. It's a strictly non-partisan publication.
That is, of course, unless you think supporting a functioning government is a partisan issue, in which case you're probably a Tea Party loon who thinks the rag isn't fit to line your birdcage — or, in other words, if you're Dan Patrick.
Governing ranked the Texas race the most interesting owing to the tremendously negative impact a Lite Gov Patrick would have on the function of government here in Texas. They also highlight his extreme anti-Hispanic rhetoric.
The article states, in part:
The Democrats got the credible nominee they wanted in state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. “Van de Putte is not a polarizing figure, and unlike the remaining statewide candidates, she has a long and impressive political track record,” said Mark P. Jones, a Rice University political scientist. “The policies and rhetoric that served Patrick so well in the primary may very well come back to haunt him in November, particularly some statements that are seen as being anti-Hispanic by most Texas Hispanics.”
If Patrick does win in November, the impact on state politics could be dramatic. Texas' LG is famously powerful — controlling the Senate's agenda, its committee structure and its rules, as well as playing a major role in crafting the state budget. But the chamber has historically been an institution where compromise and consensus are the norm, said Jones, and where legislation is often passed by a center-right Republican-Democratic alliance.
If he's elected, Patrick is expected to boost the leverage of the Tea Party-aligned legislators he's been most closely affiliated with. “He's expected to make the Senate a much more partisan institution, where the center of gravity shifts from the median senator to the median Republican senator — that is, much further to the right,” Jones said. He added that Patrick is also likely to water down such practices as proportional appointment of Democratic committee chairs and a rule during regular sessions that requires two-thirds of senators to support a motion for a bill to reach the floor.
Viva la Leti! Let's hope this high profile continues, and that even more voters pay attention to the impact of the outcome of this race.