Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stopped in Decatur as part of his effort to round up the rural vote in his bid for reelection.
After meeting with Wise County leaders, Patrick joined other Republican candidates at the Decatur Conference Center Tuesday night, discussing border security, gender, library books and his relationship with former President Donald Trump.
The campaign event in Wise County is part of Patrick’s 130-stop bus tour of rural Texas cities, as Patrick faces another challenge from Democrat Mike Collier, a former Republican, who ran against Patrick in 2018.
Earlier this week, the Dallas Morning News reported Patrick had a 10-point lead over Collier. In 2018, Patrick beat Collier in the Lt. Governor race by 5 percentage points.
While the two-time incumbent has a lead, which he estimated to be about 5 to 6 percentage points, he said the margins are closer than what has been reported, and the Lt. Governor emphasized the need for a strong turnout in rural Texas.
“I recognize how important you are,” Patrick said. “I won my last election by 450,000 votes out of 8 million. That’s not a big margin. Rural Texas — when you watch Fox News, and you see Bill Hemmer with his map up there, what do you see when you see Ohio? You see all red except for Cleveland and Cincinnati… Texas is pretty much all red except for Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin… It’s really those four cities. Those four cities represent about one out of every two votes. We need the other 240 counties to deliver so we win.”
Patrick went on to address same Texas Republicans who recently endorsed Collier. Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and Amarillo State Senator Kel Seliger, both Republicans, endorsed Collier this month. Former Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff endorsed Collier last week.
Patrick dismissed the endorsements, comparing the Republicans who endorsed Collier to Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
While speaking about the importance of rural voters, Patrick said the gubernatorial race between Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke could tighten other down-the-ballot races for Republicans. A Real Clear Politics poll found O’Rourke is currently behind Abbott by 8 percentage points.
“This battle is bigger than any other battle we’ve had, and it’s because Beto O’Rourke has $60-70-80-90-100 million,” Patrick said. “Can you imagine? It’s the Twilight Zone if I woke up and he were Governor. We’re not going to let that happen. Not only do we have to make sure Abbott wins, but we have to have big margins. After him comes me, the Attorney General, the Land Commissioner, the Ag Commissioner and the Supreme Court justices. So we need everyone to go all the way down the ballot and vote Republican.”
Patrick urged the approximately 80 in attendance to get their family members and friends to vote.
“How do you avoid a robocall? You vote on the first day of early voting. If we see our numbers are down, you’re going to get a call… We’re going to call you until you vote. If you vote, I’m not going to call you. I don’t have the money to call everybody, every day,” Patrick said. “I want you to be the annoying, pesty robocall to your neighbors. I want you to make a list of 10, 20, 30 — however many friends or family members you have. Send them a list and say, look I want you to vote.”
“This is a growing county, this is a great crowd. But lot of people are busy and they’re not thinking about what we’re talking about,” he added. “Do that every two days, all the way through early voting. On election day, I’m going to count on you. That’s literally what you can do to make the biggest difference. You can turn Wise County into a county that outperforms every county.”
Patrick spoke for 30 minutes, addressing border security, the decline of Christianity and the books in public school libraries, describing the upcoming election as a battle between darkness and light.
He said the funding for border security will be spiking significantly, with initiatives to increase the amount of fencing and walls along the border.
“We normally have been spending $400 million a year on border security since I became Lt. Governor. They were spending $200 million before I came in,” Patrick said. “I was told by DPS that is what they needed. This year, we’re going to spend, of your money, $4.5 billion. That’s money that could be used for schools, hospitals or roads. $4.5 billion to do the job that the federal government is not doing.”
When speaking about public education in Texas, which has experienced teacher shortages that prompted one Wise County school to move to a majority four-day school week this year, Patrick’s remarks centered around what he described as a liberal infiltration.
“If you look at their playbook, they take over the country gradually,” Patrick said. “The first thing they do — we have a lot of great schools, my wife is a school teacher and so is my daughter-in-law, we have great teachers and great schools — but not all of our 365,000 teachers, not all of our 9,000 campuses, not all of our 1,200 districts. Where they can infiltrate, they do, all over the country. They have infiltrated our public education system, first in K-12 and now higher ed.”
Patrick answered a few questions from the crowd. One person in attendance asked if the Texas legislature would allow Texans to vote on seceding from the United States.
Patrick said he didn’t think that was going to happen.
“I want to preserve our nation,” Patrick said. “I will tell you when California had a secession movement as well, I chipped in 10-bucks.”
Another question was related to election fraud, with a man in attendance asking if Texas was getting rid of voting machines that Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO, said were problematic. Patrick responded by listing recent measures and heightened penalties for election fraud.
In closing, Patrick said Republicans have to win in Texas.
“Remember this. We have to win in Texas because there’s not another Texas to move to,” he said. “Where would you go?”