The first domino has fallen, sort of: On the heels of Kay Bailey Hutchison's announcement that she won't try for another term in the U.S. Senate and rampant speculation that David Dewhurst will run for her seat, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson today walked up to the edge of saying he plans to be a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2014.
In a press release circulated early this afternoon, Patterson said he is "seriously considering" a race should Dewhurst vacate the office. How seriously? Reached by phone this afternoon, Patterson characterized the likelihood that he would get into the race as "probable."
What could keep him from running? "I'm 64 years old, even though I'm in damn good health. I have 7-year-old twins — they're a priority in my life. And it's a substantial cut in pay, though I served in the Senate and didn't starve." But the prospect of who else might make a race does not weigh on his mind. "It would difficult for someone else to scare me away," he said.
The full release:
January 14, 2011
PATTERSON CONSIDERS LT. GOVERNOR RUN
Land Commissioner and former State Senator first to announce interest in office
(AUSTIN, TX) Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson today announced he is seriously considering a race for Lt. Governor in 2014. His announcement follows the statement from current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst who is considering a run for the U.S. Senate after Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison announced she would not seek re-election in 2012.
“I am today announcing my interest in seeking the office of Lt. Governor,” Patterson said, “because I am eager to find new ways to put my experience and passion to work for the people of Texas. I offer a unique skill set for the job and I look forward to bringing that before the people of Texas to once again ask for their trust.”
A former Marine, state senator and author of the Texas Concealed Handgun Law, Patterson acknowledged that it might be a crowded field.
“A Marine is not easily deterred,” Patterson quipped. “With a lot of years in politics, I’ve both won and lost. Winning is better, and that is exactly what I intend to do should I run for Lt. Governor.”
Patterson has served as Texas Land Commissioner since 2002, when he succeeded Dewhurst who had defeated him in the Republican primary for the post in 1998.
“I’d follow that man anywhere,” joked Patterson.
A history buff with a military career of more than two decades, Patterson often cites his family’s legacy of service. Five generations of his family have served their nation in time of war.
“In my life, I have been honored to serve my state and my nation in many ways. I am interested in the Office of Lt. Governor because I see an opportunity to serve in a larger capacity and influence the course of the greatest state in the Union. The walls of the Capitol are filled with pictures of men and women who were the most powerful Texas leaders of their time, but history has forgotten their names. To all my colleagues, I would remind them: we’re just passing through history – but we can make a difference while we’re here.”
In describing the run, Patterson paraphrased a favorite quote used by Ronald Reagan and former Lt. Governor Bob Bullock: “A lot of good can get done,” Patterson said, “when no one cares who gets the credit.”
Patterson is the 27th Texas Land Commissioner. A Vietnam veteran and retired Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, Patterson is a former state senator and author of several major laws, including the Concealed Handgun Law, the Texas Home Equity Freedom Act and the Texas Coastal Management Plan.