Dan Patrick is a cash-raising machine.
The new Texas lieutenant governor is going to take office next week with about $4 million in leftover campaign money. He’ll put it away, sit on it for, oh, the next three years or so.
Then he’ll get to decide whether he (a) wants to seek re-election or (b) go for the next highest office in the state, governor, the one that will be occupied by his fellow Republican Greg Abbott.
As the Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka has noted, there can be no other reason than a possible governor’s race in 2018 to explain why Patrick raised so much money to become the state’s lieutenant governor.
Gov. Abbott had better watch his back.
Patrick’s presence as presiding officer of the Texas Senate is going to put a lot of pressure on Abbott to ensure that he remains faithful to the TEA party principles on which he ran in 2014. He’ll have to persist in suing President Obama every chance he gets at least until Obama leaves office in January 2017. He’ll have to keep the lid on Medicaid expansion. He’ll have to promote tax cuts — even if they damage the state’s ability to provide essential government services.
All this is essential to the TEA party wing’s platform. Lt. Gov. Patrick is the TEA partyer in chief, so he’ll be watching with a keen eye to ensure that the governor toes the line.
As the saying goes, money does talk.