*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick formally announced Monday he's running for re-election, looking to finally quell speculation he's interested in higher office.
“Put it in cement,” Patrick told reporters a day before the start of the 85th Legislative Session.
Patrick, who’s been beating back such rumors since he took office in 2015, also endorsed Gov. Greg Abbott for re-election. Abbott has not formally announced he is running again but is expected to.
“We are a great team,” Patrick told reporters. “We work well together. We agree 96, 97 percent of the time – I can’t even name the 3 percent we don’t.”
Patrick also announced he raised almost $5 million in the second half of last year and has $13.6 million cash on hand for his re-election race. He is required to report those figures to the Texas Ethics Commission later this month.
Patrick has repeatedly said he plans to run for re-election but has been dogged by rumors he could challenge Abbott, which were the focus of a recent Associated Press story. Patrick emphatically denied Monday he was interested in taking on Abbott, saying he has "never even thought about it."
"Let me put this to bed once and for all: I’m not running against Greg Abbott — not in ’18, not ever," Patrick said. "If he wants to be governor for the next 20 years and I’m still running, that’s the same story."
Some speculation has even centered on whether Patrick would challenge Ted Cruz for his U.S. Senate seat. Asked Monday if he would also endorse Cruz for re-election, Patrick did not go as far as he did with Abbott.
“I have not seen that” he’s running for re-election, Patrick said of Cruz. “Sen. Cruz is a very good friend of mine, and I think when the appropriate time comes, you’ll see me make a decision that I think will be pretty clear."
Read more about Dan Patrick here:
- While Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called a so-called bathroom bill a legislative priority, the issue has largely cooled off on the national stage and opposition to similar legislation in Texas had begun to gain momentum.
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday he was uncertain whether support exists in the Legislature for so-called "constitutional carry," which would give all Texans the right to openly carry a firearm — with or without a permit.