Former Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson will challenge George P. Bush in the 2018 Republican Primary for land commissioner. Patterson served as commissioner of the Texas General Land Office (GLO) for 12 years before he left to run for lieutenant governor. Bush succeeded him in the office.
Patterson, a critic of his successor soon after Bush took office, previously served as a state senator. During an interview with Breitbart Texas, Patterson said there are two key issues that made him decide to run: Bush’s handling of “Reimaging the Alamo,” and a failure to help Hurricane Harvey victims find housing.
Patterson will file to reclaim the office on Monday–the deadline to do so.
“I wasn’t looking for a job,” former Commissioner Patterson told Breitbart Texas in a phone interview, “but I cannot continue to ignore what is happening at the General Land Office.”
Patterson cited the office’s mishandling of Hurricane Harvey relief and the Alamo as two of his primary reasons for deciding to run.
“Harvey victims in Texas slept in snow-covered tents last week after more than two months,” he explained. Patterson said contracts to rebuild homes that are managed by the GLO were signed last week.
George Prescott Bush comes from a long line of Bush politicians. He is the son of former Florida governor and failed 2016 Republican presidential primary candidate Jeb Bush. George P. is also the nephew of President George W. Bush, the grandson of President George Herbert Walker Bush, and is named after his great-grandfather, Senator Prescott Bush (R-CT).
George P. Bush ran virtually unopposed in the Republican primary in 2012. His only opponent David Watts, raised under $17,000 and garnered 27 percent of the vote. Bush raised approximately $5 million.
After Donald Trump received the GOP nod as the presidential nominee, the then-Texas GOP victory chair created controversy when he first announced that he would not be supporting the party’s nominee, Breitbart Texas reported. Bush later said he would but added, “it’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
Patterson is a Texas native who spent the past few years since leaving office making videos about the state’s history. While serving as a state senator, Patterson authored the Texas Concealed Carry law. As Land Commissioner, he was one of the first statewide officials to get involved in the 90,000 acre land dispute between Texas farmers and ranchers and the Obama Bureau of Land Management, Breitbart Texas reported.
During his announcement on Monday, Patterson expressed his continuing concern over the redevelopment of the iconic Texas landmark and shrine, the Alamo.
“I care deeply about Texas and heritage and history,” the former commissioner said during the announcement. “I can’t sit back any longer and watch what is going on.”
Patterson said it is not just the plans for the Alamo, but the way Bush is documenting employees to make himself look like “a small-government Republican.” Patterson told Breitbart Texas during the weekend interview that Daughters of the Texas Republic employees were moved onto the payroll of a non-profit organization so they do not count in his staffing numbers. The DRT workers work for the Alamo Trust, a non-profit established by Bush and the GLO, but are paid by the state.
He has repeatedly expressed his concerns about the “secrecy” of these non-profits and how they operate. “Despite promising open government,” Patterson told Breitbart Texas, “Bush is not revealing financial information about these non-profits, nor are they complying with open records requests.”
The former commissioner also explained his concerns about Bush’s handling of the Hurricane Harvey aftermath.
In an op-ed for Texas Insider, Patterson wrote:
In 2008 Hurricane Ike slammed the Texas coast. Galveston and other Texas communities were hit hard.
A few days later as Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, an agency with coastal responsibilities, I piloted my small aircraft over Galveston Island for an aerial inspection of the damage and landed at Galveston’s Scholes Field on a runway that still had some standing water.
Governor Perry assigned elements of the Ike recovery effort to the Texas General Land Office. The GLO began beach and bay debris cleanup and later became responsible for housing and infrastructure recovery as well. Over the next many months we learned a lot and made more than a few mistakes while learning.
Unfortunately for victims of Hurricane Harvey, the most experienced of that Disaster Recovery team didn’t even make it through newly elected Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s first 6 months in office. A dozen key Disaster Recovery employees were fired or left knowing they would soon be fired, leaving the GLO without “corporate knowledge” that would’ve been invaluable responding to Hurricane Harvey.
“Harvey victims are still living in tents,” Patterson told Breitbart Texas. He said they are being re-victimized by a politician’s desire to “look like a small-government Republican.”
Monday is the filing deadline for the 2018 Republican Primary. Early voting for the primary begins on February 20.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.