We recommend Dan Patrick in the Republican primary for Texas lieutenant governor

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s opponents in the Republican primary raise a few points with which we wholeheartedly agree. Patrick often confuses photo ops with policymaking, he doesn’t bring “justice and mercy” to the land, and when tough questions are asked by the public, the media, or fellow Republicans who challenge him for his powerful position at the head of Texas. Senate, he calls the questions “dumb” or he’s nowhere in sight.

“Dan Patrick is nowhere to be found with a hunting dog and a Ouija board,” lead challenger Daniel Miller told us.

It is more or less that. We would like more authenticity in a leader, more fairness and more transparency and we would hazard a guess that many Republican voters would too.

But at what cost ? The fact is, nearly all of Patrick’s opponents in the GOP primary are running to his right. Two supporters of a referendum on secession of the United States and we would do it if only he thought that secession was possible. Despite our frequent condemnations of Patrick, we endorse the lieutenant governor in this race.

One challenger, Aaron Sorrells, 41, is a small business owner in Fort Worth who wants to eliminate the property tax, which he says is immoral and forces homeowners to essentially rent their homes to the government. He scores a point there. But he would replace lost revenue with a consumption tax that presents far more problems, especially for low-income people, even though Sorrells says his plan does not.

“I want to fight for Texans because no one is fighting for us right now, including Jan. 6 when 76 POWs are stuck in a DC cell and our state should be fighting for them,” said Sorrells. As of September 2021, 78 people charged in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack were being held after a U.S. appeals court ruled judges could deny bail to defendants who posed a threat to an individual or communities. The vast majority of the more than 700 people charged were released before trial.

Miller, 48, is the leader of the Texas nationalist movement calling for secession, also known as “Texit.” The idea is so much cooler on a T-shirt than in a bloody civil war. Miller says he would let the people decide on secession in a referendum and also try to pass a constitutional amendment banning property taxes. Miller would attempt to replace lost revenue by getting rid of sales tax exclusions, such as those for financial services and yachts.

Todd Bullis, 59, who is a huge Miller fan, said: “I grew up in California, I hated California so much I wanted to get here before Texas seceded.” He wants to bring a “biblical worldview” to the government of Texas and abolish abortion. He too would eliminate the property tax and solve the revenue problem by closing public schools. Bullis says he’s adopted several children from the foster system and called child protective services “mean and mean,” so the agency is also on its revenue-saving chopping block. Evangelical churches in Texas, he believes, should be doing much more to get every child out of the system and into families.

Also in the running who were not screened with us: Trayce Bradford, 57, homeschools her children and is a grassroots conservative activist. Zach Vance, 35, calls for “collaborating with the other side” in a heartfelt campaign video and mixes possible Medicaid expansion with more typical Republican positions. Alas, in his latest campaign finance report, Vance reported the full $76 in cash, compared to Patrick’s $22 million.

Conservative voters have no reason to believe that any of these challengers can advance an anti-abortion, border security, tax cut and election integrity agenda more effectively than Patrick. Here’s a quick recap from the last session: Abortion in Texas is now illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Texans can carry handguns without a license or any training. A set of bills eliminated 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting, and added new identification requirements to voting by mail. Major cities and counties in Texas that redirect police funds will be punished by the state. Teachers who want their students to learn implicit biases, or that slavery and Jim Crow had deep and lasting effects, can be punished. Transgender student-athletes must compete according to the gender assigned at birth.

There is no doubt that Patrick’s deft, if ruthless, handling of the Senate gavel secured great victories over Republican priorities. He punishes opponents, neutralizes moderates and plays a long game. If re-elected, Patrick will consolidate his power even further and try to push the boundaries of the Conservative agenda in the next session. But it will not lead us to secession. At least, let’s hope so.

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