HOUSTON — In a landslide victory, State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, was elected lieutenant governor Tuesday, defeating State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio.
Patrick, a Houston radio talk show host with Tea Party support, performed strongly in the four-man primary and defeated incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a runoff.
With more than 93 percent of precincts reporting at press time, Patrick received 58 percent of the vote, whereas Van de Putte received 39 percent.
At his election night party in Houston, Patrick opened with a Bible verse before discussing immigration, education and the changing role of Texas in national politics.
“I’ve met the spirit of Texas by meeting people where they live and listening to what they want,” Patrick said. “What they want is a public servant who will serve them. Here I am tonight to say to every Texan that I’m here to serve you so that Texas can be a servant to the world that is broken, that is hurting and needs leadership.”
Patrick said he has already started speaking with newly elected Gov. Greg Abbott about their plans for the Texas-Mexico border.
“I believe that we’re a nation of immigrants,” Patrick said. “We need legal immigration reform from Washington. They failed us. … We have a responsibility of law and order to protect every Texan.”
Patrick said he is looking forward to working closely with the Texas Senate.
“I am blessed to come into a Senate that has very bright and capable people,” Patrick said. “I will be a lieutenant governor who will empower them to lead, to help craft the solutions [and] to address all these issues that we have ahead of us. I believe that Texas is America’s last hope. … We’re going to make Texas even greater in the days ahead.”
At her election night party in San Antonio, Van de Putte thanked her supporters and family and said there was still work to be done.
Van de Putte, who will continue to serve in her state Senate seat, said she was aware of the challenges she would face in the election from the very beginning of her campaign.
“From the first time we announced for this position of lieutenant governor, I knew what I was going to be fighting for,” Van de Putte said. “I knew what the issues were about in this state, and I knew the heart of the people in this state.”
Van de Putte said she was proud of the work she put into the campaign, despite the losing the race.
“Although the results didn’t come our way tonight, I know that I am so proud to have been that servant leader — to be up on that ballot,” Van de Putte said. “This race was an uphill battle. I’m so proud of the millions that were raised, of the issues that were brought up.”
Student Avrey Vasquez said he was not surprised by Van de Putte’s defeat but was proud of her courage in overcoming obstacles set up by the election.
“It’s sad, but I think she did well,” Vasquez said. “She’s such a big underdog, and she overcame a lot to get to where she is.”
Mike Lewcun, a Patrick supporter from Sugar Land, said he was relieved by Patrick’s victory.
“I support what [Patrick] believes in,” Lewcun said. “Border issues are important to me. If we don’t have a secure border, we don’t have a secure anything.”
Mekelburg reported from Houston, and Sullivan reported from San Antonio.