Fireworks on tap for GOP debate?

David Dewhurst has a job that Dan Patrick wants.

Dewhurst wants to keep that job and on May 2, he and Patrick are going to debate in front of a live public television audience in an effort to win Texas Republicans’ vote in the upcoming primary runoff election.

The two men are running for Texas lieutenant governor. Patrick, a state senator from Houston, finished first in the March 4 GOP primary, well ahead of the second-place Dewhurst. Two other candidates, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, finished out of the running.

The Dewhurst-Patrick debate airs at 7 p.m. on May 2 on Panhandle PBS. It will be broadcast live from Houston, a city both men call home.

This is a big deal for Texas. The lieutenant governor’s office is often described as the most powerful office in Texas, even more so than the governor’s office. The lieutenant governor presides over the Texas Senate, appointing committee chairs and setting the agenda for the state’s upper legislative chamber.

The campaign has grown increasingly contentious as the runoff date draws near. Dewhurst, who has been lieutenant governor since 2003, has raised some personal financial questions surrounding Patrick’s past. Patrick has suggested Dewhurst isn’t a trustworthy enough conservative leader.

Let’s understand something: The GOP runoff result set for May 27 won’t elect the next lieutenant governor. The winner will face a Democrat in the fall, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, who breezed to her party’s nomination in March.

However, the Republican runoff has drawn a lot of interest among political junkies all across the state.

Panhandle PBS will give viewers a chance to size these men up one more time in a live debate. Tune in and have a listen.


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