The Texas Democratic Party is critical of what was and wasn’t discussed during the first statewide debate between Republican candidates in the lieutenant governor’s race, but as far as who scored the highest debate points, one political expert picked an unexpected winner.
"If I had to pick a winner I would pick [Land Commissioner Jerry] Patterson because he sort of ruffled some feathers and made unexpected points," said Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University.
Jillson said the rest of the candidates were trying to get to the right of each other ahead of the March 4 primary and Petterson was the one person who didn’t follow the herd.
"Patterson had a little bit different strategy, he was going for a little bit more common sense rather than rigid ideology," Jillson said.
Jillson said Patterson broke from the pack on topics like immigration, legalizing medical marijuana and right-to-life issues. He said even with a possible win, Patterson would still have a long way to go to beat frontrunner and current incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
Texas Democrats were critical of all the candidates in the debate for leaving out several areas of discussion that everyday Texans are facing.
"What we saw ignored in this debate was honest discussion about infrastructure development, how are we doing to build out our road, that was completely ignored," said Manny Garcia with the Texas Democratic Party. "We had no discussion about how six million Texans without insurance are going to get covered. What about the Voting Rights Act?"
Garcia said the candidates tackled conservative talking points but did not address needs of the everyday Texans -- like funding public education.
"There was a conversation about creationism, there wasn’t a conversation about how we adequately fund schools, that’s a big question," Garcia said.