Photo by Alexa Garcia-Ditta
Dan Patrick is finally out of hiding. Flanked by representatives of several business organizations, the Houston senator and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor touted his business accomplishments at his first press conference since winning the runoff against Republican incumbent David Dewhurst in late May.
Patrick has been criticized for flying largely under the radar this summer but insisted today he has been “the hardest working guy on the campaign trail,” he said.
“We’ve had over 1,300 meetings, we’re working just as hard today just as we’ve worked every day” since the campaign began last year, he said. “And we won’t stop.”
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Patrick’s Democratic opponent in the race for lieutenant governor, invited Patrick to participate in multiple debates statewide throughout the campaign, but Patrick agreed to only one, scheduled for the end of September in Austin.
Patrick touted his support of property tax reduction, tort-reform protections, and education reform Friday.
“For anyone watching the newscast, reading the stories, if they’re concerned about their jobs, if they’re concerned about their future, if they’re concerned about the economy, they now they have one candidate running for lieutenant governor who will make sure that they have a bright future and their children have a bright future,” he said.
Among the speakers and attendees were representatives from the Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Texas Civil Justice League.
Patrick “understands putting money back into the hands of entrepreneurs, helping them grow their businesses and maintain jobs is critical to the economy in Texas,” said Will Newton with NFIB, which has more than 24,000 small business members in the state.
Patrick has received more than a dozen endorsements from business groups and said Friday that more are coming.
Van de Putte also received an endorsement Friday from the Corpus Christi Caller Times, which Texas Democrats responded to as Patrick's press conference was wrapping up. The paper called Van de Putte the "most deserving Democrat in any race we've examined this cycle" in its editorial.
"Van de Putte displays a strong grasp of issues even for someone who has been in the Legislature since 1991," it reads. "She represents a landlocked district but is as informed about coastal windstorm insurance as acclaimed near-expert Hunter, one of many Republicans of whom she speaks highly."
Patrick and Van de Putte will each participate in a one-on-one conversation this weekend in Austin at the Texas Tribune Festival.