Texas state Sen. Kel Seliger just might find himself in a tough spot as the general election campaign gets going full blast.
He’s an Amarillo Republican who’s already beaten back a stout challenge from his right. Former Midland Mayor Mike Canon lost narrowly to Seliger in the GOP primary in March. One of Canon’s top back-room advisers is a guy named Michael Quinn Sullivan, an arch-conservative activist who is believed to have talked Canon into running against Seliger.
The senator has no love — or even a modicum of “like” — for Sullivan. He’s said so publicly.
So, who do you think is one of Sullivan’s top stable horses this year? State Sen. Dan Patrick, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, the guy who wants to preside over the Texas Senate where he and, oh yes, Seliger serve. Patrick faces a probable slugfest this fall running against Democratic nominee, another state senator, Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.
Here’s the quandary.
Suppose Patrick ventures to the Texas Panhandle this summer and fall to look for votes. Who will appear with him on a stage, at a dinner dais, at a Labor Day picnic or a political rally at, say, Dick Bivins Stadium? Will it be the senator from Texas Senate District 31, who has a known disdain for one of Patrick’s main backers?
I tend to think not.
Whatever support Patrick gets from the Panhandle — and it will be substantial, given this region’s strongly Republican leanings — he’ll likely have to acquire it without Seliger’s help.
Unless, of course, Seliger changes his heart and mind and climbs aboard the Patrick bandwagon.
Don’t laugh. Politicians of both parties have been known over many years to have these “awakenings” when the spirit — and the thought of choice committee assignments — moves them.