“I’m not — in 2018 and never — running against Greg Abbott for governor,” Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick told reporters on the eve of the opening of the 85th Texas Legislature. Patrick also ruled out a run against Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 Republican Primary.
“Put it in cement,” the lieutenant governor told reporters during a press conference on Monday. He made the comments to attempt to stop the persistent speculation that he might be seeking another office in the 2018 Primary Election season which begins in earnest at the end of the legislative session scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
At the end of the 84th Legislative Session in June 2015, Governor Patrick emphatically told a group of reporters, “I will be lieutenant governor and that will be my last position.”
“Let me bury that today,” Patrick said. “I will never be running against Greg Abbott for governor.” He said at the time, “I have never even thought about it.”
“I love this job and I love working with Gov. Abbott. We are close friends and have formed a great partnership. I will never be running against Greg Abbott for governor and anyone who spreads that rumor is just spreading a rumor that is false,” he said.
The definitive comments apparently did not bury the speculation mill as rumors and discussions continued throughout the period between sessions.
Patrick acknowledged the tradition and continued, “but when he does, I want to be the first to endorse him.”
Attempting to put an end to the speculation, Patrick took the unusual move of endorsing Governor Abbott’s yet unannounced re-election campaign. Campaign announcements for statewide elected officials usually begin following the end of the legislative session.
The lieutenant governor left one last caveat, the Austin American-Statesman reported. He said if there was a vacancy in the governor’s office he would reassess his position.
The Austin newspaper reported some of Patrick’s accomplishments as president of the Texas Senate. Those include: punctuality in the Senate chamber, legislation to add $800 million for border security, the creation of an A to F ratings for each school, and attempt to reduce property taxes.
Patrick has an aggressive agenda for the 85th Legislative Session and sought to put an end to political motivations and distractions surrounding steps he might take legislatively. Those priorities include passing a transgender bathroom bill, “sanctuary cities,” school choice, abortion regulations, and ending the fee for gun licenses, the American-Statesman reported.