More

    Trump reveals Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is his pipeline to Texas primary politics: ‘Whatever you want, Dan’

    Last year, former president Donald Trump appeared to develop a keen interest in the inner workings of the Texas Legislature, blasting out endorsements of down-ballot Republicans, praising legislators for their election audit bills and, at one point, accusing House Speaker Dade Phelan of “weak RINO leadership.”

    Trump’s surprisingly sharp knowledge of Texas legislative minutiae sparked questions about who was feeding him information, and speculation immediately turned to one of Trump’s closest allies in the state, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whose interests seemed to align with a number of Trump’s emailed statements.

    Patrick twice served as chair of Trump’s campaign in Texas, as well as skipping the start of the 2019 legislative session to meet with Trump officials at the White House. And on Saturday, Patrick headlined a big-dollar fundraiser luncheon with Trump in Houston.

    During a rally in Conroe hours later, Trump made clear that the lieutenant governor was the driving force behind some of his endorsements last year, telling the crowd that Patrick had called to seek his public support for certain candidates.

    “I said, ‘Absolutely, Dan. Whatever you want, Dan,’” Trump recalled, adding that Patrick has “gotten a hell of a lot of endorsements” from him. He also praised the quality of Patrick’s recommended candidates.

    Trump, whose support is thought to carry weight among Republican primary voters, did not specify which endorsements had been prompted by Patrick, and he did not indicate that the lieutenant governor was behind any of his statements related to the Legislature and election bills. A spokesman for Patrick did not immediately respond to questions about Trump’s comments.

    Logan Spence, Patrick’s former campaign manager and chief of staff who now works as a lobbyist in Austin, said Patrick communicates with Trump about the border and other Texas-specific issues.

    “I know they talk, have conversations, and sometimes the lieutenant governor would want to alert him about something, what’s happening at the state level, that he may not be aware of, or his people may not be aware of,” Spence said. “…Just trying to give the Texas conservative perspective to the president, I think, was a role that Dan was happy to fill.”

    Last October, the Dallas Morning News reported, Trump and his political strategist, Allen Blakemore, spurred Trump to endorse Republican Pete Flores for an open Senate district — one redrawn with new boundaries that now extend to Flores’ home in Pleasanton. But Blakemore told the Morning News he was unaware of what prompted Trump’s other recent involvement in Texas politics, including an endorsement of Republican Senate candidate Kevin Sparks.

    Sparks, a Midland oilman, was running at the time against state Sen. Kel Seliger, the lone Senate Republican to vote against a Trump-supported audit bill. Shortly after that vote, Trump slammed Seliger as a “RINO” — a slur that stands for “Republican in name only,” typically used to cast GOP officials as insufficiently conservative — and said he was “not helpful to our great MAGA Movement.”

    Patrick, who has publicly clashed with Seliger a number of times, had not weighed in on the primary, though he had recently told the Permian Basin Petroleum Association that the Senate was missing members with expertise in oil and gas. Seliger worked for years in the steel industry, while Sparks is the president of a family-owned oil and gas company in Midland.

    Weeks later, Seliger announced he was not seeking re-election to his district, which had been redrawn to include more area in the Permian Basin, where Sparks lives, and remove a chunk of the Panhandle near Seliger’s hometown of Amarillo. Days after Seliger’s announcement, Patrick endorsed Sparks.

    Last September, Trump also pressed Gov. Greg Abbott — who controls the agenda during special sessions of the Legislature — to give lawmakers permission to consider House Bill 16, a proposal that would have empowered candidates and party chairs to request audits of the 2020 election and future contests.

    Soon after, the Texas secretary of state’s office announced a “full and comprehensive forensic audit” of the 2020 election in four Texas counties, including Dallas, Harris and Tarrant — the state’s three largest counties, all of which voted for Biden. Earlier that month, Abbott had also signed a sweeping Republican-backed elections bill into law.

    Still, Trump continued to push for the audit bill, even though he had won Texas by 5.6 percentage points in 2020. He has falsely insisted the narrow margin — it was the closest win for any Republican presidential nominee in Texas since 1996 — was due to fraud.

    Source link

    Latest articles

    spot_imgspot_img

    Related articles

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    spot_imgspot_img