The Brief: The Hits Keep Coming in Dewhurst vs. Patrick

Republican candidates for lieutenant governor from left, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston; Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples; and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst take their places for a debate at KERA studios in Dallas on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014.
Republican candidates for lieutenant governor from left, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston; Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples; and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst take their places for a debate at KERA studios in Dallas on Monday, Jan. 27, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Land Commissioner (and former lieutenant governor hopeful) Jerry Patterson will endorse David Dewhurst in the primary runoff contest over Dan Patrick, Dallas radio station KERA reported on Sunday.

Patterson said the decision to endorse was "a very clear choice. We have a person who has consistently proven to be unable to tell the truth versus one who has had some hiccups along the way but is a substantially better choice for lieutenant governor than somebody who has a history of not being able to tell the truth.”

That was just the latest development over the weekend in the white-hot contest between the two men.

On Friday, they spent an hour calling each other a liar in a debate broadcast by Houston Public Media. The next day, The Dallas Morning News published a story on Patrick's takeover of a Houston radio station. The report said that Patrick borrowed money for the purchase from a businessman who had bilked a Louisiana savings and loan out of millions:

Seeking to recover some of the money bilked from thrifts in the 1980s savings and loan crisis, two federal entities eventually sued [W. Harold] Sellers. Among other things, they alleged that he used laundered S&L loan money to finance Patrick’s plan to buy what is now KSEV-AM in late 1988. Earlier that year, Sellers fraudulently obtained $86 million in loans from the New Orleans thrift, federal officials charged.

...

Patrick said in a written statement to The Dallas Morning News this week that he did not know any fraudulently obtained funds were used in the purchase of the radio station. He described Sellers as a “silent partner” who was not involved in the operations or management of Sunbelt Broadcasting. But in a 1995 deposition that Patrick gave in the federal lawsuit against Sellers, Patrick indicated that Sellers played a key role at the radio station.

Through a spokesman, Dewhurst told the News that the story demonstrated that "it becomes clearer by the day that [Patrick] is unfit to preside over the Senate and its budget-making authority." Patrick's campaign shot back that the story had been peddled by the Dewhurst camp for months and showed the incumbent's desperation.

Dewhurst and Patrick are set to debate again on Wednesday in Dallas. The runoff election to decide who will get the GOP's nod for lieutenant governor is May 27.

The Day Ahead

•    The Texas Tribune Festival On the Road presents a one-day symposium on STEM Education at UT-Dallas. We will livestream the full-day event beginning at 8:30 a.m.

•    The House County Affairs Committee holds a hearing at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to take testimony on interim charges related to jail standards commission, a health advisory panel created by legislation last session and an overview of cite-and-summons policy. (agenda)

Today in the Trib

In Cellphone Contraband Cases, Few Face Charges: "While confiscations of illicit cellphones in prisons have dropped, a Tribune investigation found that few inmates or correctional officers face legal consequences for smuggling the devices."

In Democratic Senate Primary Runoff, a Clear Divide: "Prominent Texas Democrats are backing David Alameel in a primary runoff for U.S. Senate. His opponent, Kesha Rogers, supports impeaching President Obama and argues state party leaders are out of touch with their voters."

Analysis: In the Legislature, Race and Party Line Up: "In the Texas Legislature, it is often possible to tell legislators' political affiliations by their race and ethnicity. It's a result of voting patterns, voting rights laws and the way political maps are drawn."

Must-Read

Signaling Interest in 2016, Perry Talks of ‘Second Chances’, The New York Times

Perry bypassed process in state law for selecting student regents, Austin American-Statesman

Ken Paxton’s business list has surged since he entered Legislature, The Dallas Morning News

South Texas corruption scandals spur reflection, The Associated Press

Corpus Christi State Supported Living Center resident escaped nine days after supervision reduced, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Both sides court voters in Cy-Fair ISD bond plan, Houston Chronicle

La Salle County sues TxDOT over road funding, San Antonio Express-News

Inside the negotiations over Energy Future Holdings’ breakup, The Dallas Morning News

Arms Cache Most Likely Kept in Texas by the C.I.A., The New York Times

Quote to Note

“You want to be the guy that executed somebody that shouldn't have been executed, I guess you shouldn't have a moratorium. Otherwise, you probably ought to consider it.”

— Former Texas Gov. Mark White on the need for a review of the state's death penalty processes

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Rep. Dan Branch, Candidate for Attorney General, at the Austin Club, 5/8

•    A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    A Conversation With Steve Patterson, UT Men's Athletic Director, at the Austin Club, 5/15

•    A Conversation With Sen. Glenn Hegar, Candidate for State Comptroller, at the Austin Club, 5/29

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21