Establishment Lobbyist: Race Over for Branch, Dewhurst

Establishment Lobbyist: Race Over for Branch, Dewhurst

AUSTIN, TEXAS–An influential establishment GOP lobbyist last week emailed his clients telling them that the Republican primary run-offs for lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller “are over before they start.” The email was obtained by Breitbart Texas.

Robert Miller of Locke Lord LLP told wrote a “Locke Lord Client Update” in which he claimed “Efforts are underway and will intensify to have Lt. Gov. [David] Dewhurst, Rep. [Dan] Branch, and Rep. [Harvey] Hilderbran drop out of the races.”

On Friday afternoon, Hilderbran — who placed a distant second in the race for comptroller — dropped out of the run-off ceding the GOP nomination to front-runner Glenn Hegar. Hegar finished the four-way primary race within 100 votes of winning outright and more than 20 percentage points ahead of Hilderbran.

Miller wrote that the races “are over before they start” because “[only] the hard core of the hard core will vote” in the run-off election scheduled for Tuesday, May 27, the day after Memorial Day.

“I don’t know whether these efforts will succeed, but I am certain that money will rapidly begin moving to Patrick, Paxton and Hegar,” Miller wrote. “I am in the process of organizing major Houston fundraisers for each of them.”

He told the Texas Tribune on Friday that he has “assessed the situation” and said large-dollar GOP donors are moving to support the front-runners.

Until early January, Miller was the treasurer for Barry Smitherman’s campaign for Attorney General. Mr. Smitherman finished in third place.

Patrick and Paxton both lead their respective lieutenant governor and attorney general races following the initial primary elections. Patrick and Paxton surprised many by finishing in first place in their races. 

Patrick earned 41.5% of the vote to Dewhurst’s 28.3%. Paxton, meanwhile, garnered 44.4% to Branch’s 33.5%.

Follow Michael Quinn Sullivan on Twitter @MQSullivan