COMMENTARY | Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is locked in a primary runoff battle with State Sen. Dan Patrick. Dewhurst, thanks apparently to some adroit maneuvering, has won the endorsement of one former Rep. Ron Paul.
Dewhurst, as it may be remembered, was soundly beaten in his effort to become a United States senator by a then obscure former Texas solicitor general named Ted Cruz, a classic establishment vs. tea party contest. Fast forward two years and Patrick, a firebrand social conservative, is trying to replicate Cruz’s feat by knocking off Dewhurst entirely.
The result has been a nasty campaign featuring dubious accusations of financial improprieties on both sides. The most recent debate between the two men got rather personal, according to one account. But, according to Breitbart, Dewhurst may have learned some lessons from his abortive 2012 senate run and is courting the support of both establishment and tea party Republicans, including former opponents.
In the meantime, Patrick has not yet gotten the one endorsement that Cruz has credited for placing him over the top, that of Sarah Palin. That would tend to handicap Patrick in the race.
If Dewhurst wins, some pundits will likely suggest that it is another example of how the establishment is finally starting to put down those meddlesome tea party people. But they will have left out the fact that they will have done so by coopting many of the tea party’s issues and making them their own.
Dewhurst, for example, has been inveighing against the Federal Reserve and calling for strict limits on the federal government, music to the ears of many tea partiers. That is no doubt a reason behind the Paul endorsement. Paul supporters may be small in numbers, but they are well motivated. On top of everything else, the endorsement may be an important factor in ensuring Dewhurst has another term as Texas lt. governor.