Arguably, the Texas lieutenant governor's Republican primary race is the most interesting one in the state. Its four candidates are jostling for elbow room in a Republican tent that gets ever smaller by the day, it seems, which means that elbow room and breathable oxygen also continue to shrink.
So, without further ado, here are brief sketches:
1. David Dewhurst, aka Dudley Dewless. He's your stereotypical country club Republican, who worked his way up from rich suburban high school class president. If George H.W. Bush was born on third base thinking he had hit a triple, to riff on Miss Ann Richards' famous bon mot, Dewless thinks that everyone else should believe that he deserves be entitled to the myth of believing he was born on third having hit a triple. At one time, he had what passed for principles in the Texas GOP, but after having Ted Cruz hand his hat to him on a platter two years ago, threw them out the window.
2. Todd Staples. Currently the state's agriculture commissioner. He's a more smarmy version of one of his ag commissioner predecessors, Rick Perry. If Rick Perry jogs with a pistol to shoot coyotes, Staples dreams of that in some Walter Mitty alternative life. (Actually, in reality, that's Tricky Rick's alternative life, too, but that's another story.) Staples' relative smarminess comes from having more Boy Scout in him than Perry does. Whether that will hinder him in this knife fight remains to be seen. Or, per the Dew's earlier story, Staples' managed high school class presidency campaigns of people like him. The OCD organizational level could help in a race like this.
3. Dan Patrick. Currently a state senator in his "day job," but before that, and continuing, this Dracula of the airwaves is Texas' more louche low-rent equivalent to Rush Limbaugh. Having almost never met an on-air bomb he wouldn't throw, he does have the handicap of being the only one of the four without a statewide office. Unlike Boy Scout Todd, or Country Club David, Patrick won't pull his punches. His radio listeners could offset his lack of statewide name appeal. His chance of winning probably depends on his possibly out-Cruzing the other three, which I wouldn't put past him.
4. Jerry Patterson. Currently the state's land office commissioner. If Staples is Tricky Ricky crossed with Boy Scout, Patterson is a more populist Tricky Ricky crossed with redneck. Tricky Ricky claims to jog with a gun in case he comes across a coyote, while Patterson packs concealed heat wherever he goes, and whips it out for pandering points. On the populist side, Patterson's running a down-home campaign, kind of like if Tom Pauken had been pickled in an NRA vat for three months before starting a political campaign. However, in the all-important political language of dinero, that's turned out to be a definite hurt for Patterson so far.
For more analysis of that fundraising, go here.
The four even inspire me to think rhetorically about face-punching people. (This is purely rhetorical; I was in exactly one fight, and a brief one, my four years of high school.)
The Dew? You'd want to face-punch him because he was the kid wearing Izods every day, and he still acted like that today.
Staples? You'd want to punch him in the face because he was organizing Young Conservatives for Reagan or something in high school, and you just wanted to wipe that smarmy smile off his face.
Patrick? You'd want to face-punch him, but you're worried just what the hell he'd say on his next radio show.
Patterson? You want to pistol-whip him with a Glock, not just punch him in the face, because you know he's packing heat himself.