Dan Patrick Curiously Missing During Border Security Debate At Senate Finance Hearing

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Dan Patrick based his primary campaign around getting tough on border security and immigration. He even had his signs depict a fence with a padlock on it with the words “Secure Our Border” emblazoned across the top, and referred to an “illegal invasion.”

But, since his primary victory Dan Patrick has been noticeably less visible, and even though he sits on the Senate Finance Committee he was not engaged during the border debate that took place at the hearing.

It’s not the first time Patrick hasn’t jumped at the opportunity to debate. On the day of the hearing Patrick tweeted page, “Barack Obama is threatening to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Sign and RT to stand against amnesty!” The petition he linked to reads, “President Obama is threatening to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants with an executive order.”

Ironically, as I wrote earlier today Rick Perry used his own executive order of sorts to send troops to the border without legislative approval even though Senator Wendy Davis requested he call a special session.

Leading up to the Senate Finance Hearing Patrick released a series of tweets admonishing the federal government and the Obama Administration for not “securing the border” and supposedly calling for “amnesty.”

Anyone following his social media channels can see his focus on passing legislation and “stand[ing]against amnesty,” but where was he during the hearing? His colleagues on both sides of the aisle asked pointed questions about strategy and funding mechanisms during testimony by the Director of the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, but not Patrick.

Given some of Patrick’s outlandish claims about the immigrants coming over one — particularly a signer of his strongly worded petition — could not be blamed for a assuming that he would at least have some questions for Major General Nichols, the Adjutant General of Texas National Guard who also testified.

Perhaps he knows when his claims are met with professional scrutiny they may not live up to the hype. Earlier this year the San Antonio Express news responded to his claim of the “illegal invasion” and found, “the data show there’s not a massive influx of people of undocumented immigrants crossing the border.” Also contrary to the data Patrick claimed that children crossing the border were carrying diseases such as “tuberculosis, malaria, polio and leprosy.”

The Burnt Orange Report recently reported on Patricks disappearing trick after the Primary, “While Leticia Van de Putte was visiting border patrol officers in the Valley, Dan Patrick was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps that is part of the reason that Van de Putte out-raised her opponent since the runoff – despite not having a runoff of her own.”

Patrick so far has only accepted one of five debates offered by Senator Van de Putte for what is arguably the state’s most powerful elected position.

The Lone Star Project offered some suggestions on where Dan Patrick has been and why he’s been silent lately:

Dan Patrick knows he is out of step with fair-minded, mainstream Texans. He knows that his ugly, divisive rhetoric alienates voters.So how did he cope with the criticism? Patrick turned tail and ran, hiding out for more than a month.

Where has Dan Patrick been for the past month? Is he ready now to publicly disavow his hateful statements and those of his key backers?

Did Dan Patrick take a break from his campaign to rethink this hateful rhetoric? Or did he just become overwhelmed by the pressure and criticism and need to escape?

Regardless, Texans deserve more from Dan Patrick.

The truth is Dan Patrick may be able to escape from his own committee discussion on border security but he won’t be able to escape voters — not in the most interesting race for Lt. Governor in the country.

Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.


About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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