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Carona Bets Big on Patrick's Lt. Gov. Bid

Associa PAC, a political action committee formed by state Sen. John Carona and his company, contributed $30,000 to state Sen. Dan Patrick's bid for lieutenant governor over the last six months, according to recent campaign filings.

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas (l) and Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston (r)

Among the top donors to state Sen. Dan Patrick's bid for lieutenant governor is one of his colleagues: Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas. 

Associa PAC, a political action committee formed by Carona and his company to support his property management business, contributed $30,000 to Patrick's campaign over the course of the last six months, according to the most recent campaign finance filings. Carona's wife, Helen, donated another $2,500 to Patrick. The Patrick campaign also paid $11,362.50 in late December to Associa Inc. for the use of the corporation's private plane.

Patrick is one of three Republican candidates vying to unseat the current leader of the state Senate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in what has become a bitter primary fight to control the upper chamber's top spot. Only one other state senator, Kevin Eltife of Tyler, who gave $12,500 to Dewhurst, has made financial contributions. One former Republican state senator who retired in 2011, Steve Ogden of Bryan, has donated about $12,000 to Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, a second Dewhurst primary opponent. Also in the race is Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

The alliance between Patrick and Carona is also noteworthy because the two have publicly sparred in the past. Last May, news outlets obtained a letter that Patrick sent to every member of the upper chamber saying Carona was spreading rumors about the state of Patrick's marriage. Carona denied Patrick’s claims, calling him “a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.”

The Tribune reported in November that Carona was allowing Patrick to use the private plane owned by his corporation to campaign around the state. At the time, Carona said that he did not intend to make an official endorsement in the race, but that he and his wife had decided to help Patrick's campaign financially because they believed his ideology most closely aligned with theirs.

Carona is locked in a primary battle of his own with a challenge from Dallas developer Donald Huffines. Huffines has based his campaign on attacking what he calls Carona's liberal record in the Legislature. 

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