While the two have been besties ever since Ted Cruz dropped out of the Republican race for president, on Friday, Donald Trump and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made things official.
According to statements sent out by both Patrick and Trump, Texas' lite guv (arguably
the most powerful political post in the state) will officially stump for Trump as the Republican presidential nominee's new Texas state chairman. In a statement Friday, Trump's Texas state director said Patrick, who's already appeared alongside Trump several times since he became the GOP nominee, will help recruit Texans to volunteer in the key battleground states.
Patrick will also try to help lock down the Trump vote in Texas, a traditionally deep-red state that, depending on which poll you consider, has started to veer toward purple because of this year's presidential contest. One Washington Post/Survey Monkey poll last week painted Texas as a tossup state. The more comprehensive Lyceum poll out this week showed Trump beating Hillary Clinton among likely Texas voters by only single digits, which would be a remarkable outcome in and of itself. Meanwhile, Democrats in the state insist Trump's emergence gives them the best opportunity in recent memory to make inroads in the legislature. And in the race for the hotly contested South Texas congressional seat currently occupied by Will Hurd (a race that's been labeled one of the most competitive in the country), Democratic challenger Pete Gallego has fought hard to make Trump's rise within the GOP a liability for the district's Republican incumbent.
Trump's choice in Patrick makes sense considering the lieutenant governor's rhetoric on everything from muslim Americans to immigration closely mirrors Trump's. It was Patrick who, during his first year in the Texas Senate, boycotted the chamber's first ever muslim-led prayer. He's decried the "invasion" of immigrants into the state, pushed hard for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (that he thinks Mexico should pay for
, of course). He's repeatedly compared immigrants crossing the border to walking pathogens
“My primary goal is to unite our party in Texas," Patrick said in a prepared statement Friday announcing his new role with the Trump campaign. "I want
to ensure a solid Trump win and to remind Republican voters, and the new Trump voters who came out in the primary, to support the entire Republican ticket from the White House to the Court House."