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Matthew Dowd, the manager strategist for George W. Bush’s presidential reelection marketing campaign who later break up with the previous president publicly, is operating for lieutenant governor as a Democrat.
Dowd additionally has labored for Bob Bullock, who in 1994 used to be the ultimate Democrat elected as Texas lieutenant governor, and faces an uphill combat to unseat Republican Dan Patrick, the state’s second-highest-ranking legitimate who has urged Texas politics into the far-right fringes of the GOP.
In a two-and-a-half minute campaign announcement video, Dowd mentioned GOP politicians have failed the state, zeroing in on Patrick, who he referred to as “merciless and craven” and denounced as a divisive determine who places his political ambitions over the desires of on a regular basis Texans.
“Sufficient is sufficient. We’d like extra officers who inform the reality, who imagine in public products and services, in commonplace sense with commonplace decency for the average excellent. … We want to be expecting extra from our legislators,” Dowd says within the advert. “Dan Patrick believes in none of the ones and this is the reason I’m operating for the robust workplace of lieutenant governor of this nice state.”
In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Dowd mentioned he began critically making an allowance for operating for workplace after the Jan. 6 assault at the U.S. Capitol by means of supporters of President Donald Trump who had been looking to prevent the certification of ultimate 12 months’s presidential election. However it wasn’t till after the state’s legislative consultation that Dowd actually concerned with Patrick as his goal.
“Staring at the legislative consultation and the way horrendous it used to be — now not simplest what the lieutenant governor didn’t do, but in addition what he did do,” Dowd mentioned. “This summer time, I began pondering perhaps I must run and take away this man so I don’t have to feel embarrassment about our personal state.”
Dowd mentioned Patrick failed to guide on solving the electrical grid after tens of millions of Texans misplaced energy for days throughout wintry weather storms in February and has refused to do so to deal with the price of well being care within the state, whilst he made it harder for native officers to deal with COVID-19 by means of going in opposition to the suggestions of docs and scientists.
As an alternative, Dowd mentioned, Patrick driven “tradition battle” problems equivalent to an elections invoice that warring parties say will disenfranchise electorate of colour and a near-total abortion ban within the state. And following mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa in 2019, Patrick spoke back by means of pushing for a legislation that permits Texans to carry a handgun without training or a license.
Dowd would roll again all 3 of the ones rules, which he mentioned had been driven by means of Patrick and the “5 p.c” of folks at the a ways appropriate of the GOP who swing number one elections.
“Presently, Dan Patrick is a tyranny of the minority,” he mentioned.
Dowd mentioned he’s operating as a “Bob Bullock, Ann Richards Democrat,” a throwback to the ultimate two Democrats elected as lieutenant governor and governor of the state within the Nineteen Nineties. If elected, he’d center of attention on solving issues of the state’s electrical grid and returning decision-making to native officers so they are able to take on demanding situations just like the COVID-19 pandemic. Underneath Gov. Greg Abbott’s government order, native officers are banned from masks and vaccine mandates, amongst different measures meant to forestall the unfold of the virus.
Patrick careworn officers on the Public Utilities Fee to opposite $16 billion in electrical energy fees racked up throughout the wintry weather storms. He driven thru regulation within the Senate towards that finish, however the proposal died within the Space.
Dowd additionally mentioned he’d permit educators to show historical past in colleges with out concern of repercussions, a dig at any other legislation, the so-called “essential race principle” expenses that Patrick supported throughout this 12 months’s legislative classes.
However a number of of the problems Dowd highlights in his marketing campaign advert, just like the elections invoice and limiting the movements native officers can take, had been driven by means of Abbott. So why now not run in opposition to him?
“Whoever’s operating for governor could make that argument to what Abbott’s executed,” Dowd mentioned, including that Patrick has driven Abbott’s movements to the precise, making him “unreasonable.”
“If he disagreed with the ones issues he will have executed one thing about it,” he mentioned. “Dan Patrick has enabled this, facilitated it and made it worse.”
Dowd mentioned he hopes a Democrat wins the governor’s seat and that he would “like to paintings with Beto” O’Rourke, the previous El Paso congressman who has now not declared his candidacy.
“But when it’s Greg Abbott, I’m gonna do the whole thing I will be able to to forestall his steady assault on Texans,” he mentioned.
Dowd labored for former U.S. Rep. J.J. “Jake” Pickle and U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, each Democrats, prior to becoming a member of Bullock’s body of workers. In 1999, he switched events and helped run Bush’s reelection marketing campaign for president in 2004, drawn by means of Bush’s bipartisan way to politics throughout his tenure as Texas governor when he labored with a Democratic lieutenant governor and Space speaker.
In 2007, Dowd broke with Bush, who he criticized for his dealing with of the Iraq Warfare. He known as an unbiased for a number of years and labored as a political analyst for ABC Information till previous this 12 months when he once more declared himself a Democrat to run for workplace.
All the way through his marketing campaign, he mentioned, he needs to keep away from labels and concentrate on profitable values. He believes the Republican Birthday party within the state has been pulled up to now to the precise that electorate face an existential combat between “crew democracy” and “crew autocracy” and Democrats can win the election however simplest with the precise candidate.
To win, they’ll want prime Democratic turnout, larger margins of victory amongst unbiased electorate and a few crossover from “disappointed” Republicans, Dowd mentioned. He says his previous enjoy in politics, in addition to his non-public alternatives in that realm, makes him the candidate who can ship.
“Without reference to the results I attempt to say it [like it is]. I broke with President Bush in an overly public manner. I criticized Donald Trump in an overly public manner,” he mentioned. “What I’m gonna suggest is we as Democrats need to win as a result of there is an excessive amount of at stake. I serve your values.”
Dowd mentioned he doesn’t suppose he’ll fit Patrick within the fundraising race, however he expects to have sufficient to run a aggressive race.
Prior to he can get to Patrick in November, he’ll have to stand different Democratic applicants in a March number one. To this point, Mike Collier, the Democrat who got here inside 400,000 votes of unseating Patrick in 2018, has formed an exploratory committee and has been barnstorming around the state. One in every of his primary problems is “solving the rattling grid” and he’s anticipated to officially announce his marketing campaign quickly.
In a observation following Dowd’s announcement, Collier’s deputy marketing campaign supervisor blasted Dowd for his earlier paintings for Republicans.
“We welcome Matthew Dowd again to the Democratic Birthday party,” Ali S. Zaidi mentioned in a observation. “Mr. Dowd — you might understand issues have modified so much because you had been running for Republicans. Democratic electorate will probably be to listen to how promoting a false battle, making sure the deciding Superb Courtroom vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and main the price to cross a lot of anti-marriage equality poll measures have formed your present perspectives.”
Dowd mentioned he knew Collier used to be exploring a run however it didn’t think about to his resolution to leap into the race.
He mentioned he would now not assault Collier or another Democrat that will get within the race. As an alternative, he’ll center of attention on appearing Texans why Patrick is out of contact with their values.
“From Day One, I’m gonna take this to Dan Patrick and that’s gonna proceed for 405 days,” he mentioned, relating to the selection of days till subsequent 12 months’s normal elections. “I am gonna be unrelenting in telling the reality in appearing how Dan Patrick has harm Texans and harm this state.”
The 2021 Texas Tribune Festival, the weeklong birthday celebration of politics and coverage that includes large names and impressive concepts, wrapped on Sept. 25, however there’s nonetheless time to track in. Discover dozens of unfastened, on-demand occasions prior to nighttime Thursday, Sept. 30, at tribfest.org.