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Patrick Has Big Mo in Lite Guv Contest

And a trio of Tea Party House members ride to the help of T.J. Fabby.

Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, shown talking to voters during the Tarrant County Conservative Candidate Fair held in Hurst.

The big headline last week in the GOP lite guv showdown was disarray in the David Dewhurst camp. This week, the story is a trio of high-profile endorsements for Dewhurst’s challenger, Dan Patrick.

Add those two things together and it equals big trouble for the incumbent, who, it should be remembered, also turned in a lackluster performance in the first round of the party primaries.

On Monday, Railroad Commissioner — and erstwhile AG candidate — Barry Smitherman came out for Patrick over Dewhurst. He was followed on Wednesday by state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, as well as the political arm of the tort reform group Texans for Lawsuit Reform.

In the latter case, TLR reversed course. It had backed the incumbent in the first round but decided to switch allegiance for the upcoming runoff. In making the announcement, the TLR leadership said it had backed Dewhurst initially because “he played pivotal roles at crucial times over the past decade in the passage of comprehensive tort reforms."

It went on to say that Patrick “has earned the support of Republicans who want to retain the Lt. Governorship in conservative hands. … In determining the best course for the State of Texas moving forward, we believe it is time to rally to Dan Patrick for the fall election.”

In Deuell’s case, the endorsement is not being reciprocated by Patrick. But, pardon the pun, the move does serve a dual purpose for the state senator who finds himself in a potentially tricky runoff contest against Tea Party fave Bob Hall. Deuell doesn’t have a press release in hand announcing an endorsement from Patrick. But he's hoping to benefit by standing with Patrick, who is not only popular with the grassroots right but also happens to have big mo on his side.

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A trio of Tea Party House members are saddling up and riding to the help of T.J. Fabby, the Tea Party candidate in the GOP HD-10 runoff. Jonathan Stickland, Giovanni Capriglione and David Simpson, joined by HD-115 GOP nominee Matt Rinaldi, will appear at an April 22 fundraiser organized by Fabby at the Waxahachie Civic Center. Fabby squares off against establishment Republican candidate John Wray in the May 27 runoff. The winner succeeds House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, who opted not to pursue re-election. With no one else running in the general election, the man who emerges victorious in May will have his ticket punched for Austin.

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