Going into the final leg of the Republican lieutenant governor race, incumbent David Dewhurst led state Sen. Dan Patrick by a narrow margin, but strong early polling numbers and the possible effects of an icy Election Day has given Patrick the edge when all the votes were counted.
Most political experts were predicting a runoff between Patrick and Dewhurst and it came true.
But what surprised most is that Patrick started with and kept a more than 10-point lead over the Dewhurst throughout the election. Dewhurst said icy weather won’t keep his supporters from voting for him on May 27.
"The last several days I’ve been crisscrossing the State of Texas," Dewhurst said. "I’ve seen a lot of snow, I’ve seen of ice, I’ve seen a lot of cold, cold weather, but let me share something with you, when May 27 rolls around we’re going to have some real Texas weather again, so let’s trade back in those umbrellas, those scarves and overcoats for sunscreen because we’re starting all over again with a brand new election.”
Patrick, who had strong tea party support, credited grassroots politics for his election returns.
"The credit for tonight’s victory goes to the grassroots, tea party conservatives, grassroots conservatives," Patrick said. "There was an article today in Washington that said the tea party was dead in Texas -- as John Wayne would say, 'That’ll be the day.' "
Dewhurst says he has a plan to win on May 27.
“I have a very special message for the supporters of Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson: They both ran a good race, I think you ought to be proud of them," Dewhurst said. "And ladies and gentlemen, as you reflect on how they earned your vote, I think you are going to discover there is more that unites us, you and me, than divides us.”
Dewhurst is hoping to pool more than 30-percent of the vote that cast ballots for Todd Staples and Jerry Patterson in the runoff election.
Following his concession, Staples told his crowd of supporter he hasn’t decided on which candidate to throw his weight behind, but did say whoever is successful on May 27 would be far superior than Democrat Leticia Van De Putte, which is who either Patrick or Dewhurst will face in the fall.
In the final weeks of the primary election, many Latino leaders -- including Hispanic Republicans-- took issue with much of the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from the lieutenant governor’s race, which is one of the things the officials with the Texas Democratic Party say they hope will give Van De Putte an edge over either Dewhurst or Patrick.