Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announces 2018 campaign for held position, dismisses running against Gov. Abbott

Lisa Dreher

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced his 2018 campaign for lieutenant governor and dismissed any notions he would challenge Gov. Greg Abbott Monday morning.

“Put it in cement: I’m not running against Greg Abbott,” Patrick said.

Patrick said he will seek re-election as President of the Texas Senate for another two-year term, and that he fully supports Abbott should he enter a gubernatorial race. Rumors of Republican intra-party conflict have swirled around since Patrick has taken more conservative stances than Abbott, but Patrick said they do not reflect outright opposition.

"All of that has been nothing more than someone's pipe dream, some speculation based on no facts,” Patrick said.

Abbott publicly supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, in his 2016 presidential campaign, according to the Associated Press. After Cruz conceded the nomination to president-elect Donald Trump, Abbott did not mention Trump publicly for a while and Patrick vocally shifted loyalty from Cruz to Trump, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

“I was really worried about the future under Hillary just because of her policies, and so I feel like we really have a shot to make America great again,” Patrick said the morning after Election Day.

Patrick was appointed Trump’s Texas campaign chairman in September. Abbott later said he fully supported his party’s nominee and addressed critics saying his endorsement has been quiet.

Tomorrow the Texas Legislature reconvenes, and on its agenda includes a tightened state budget, school funding and a bill by Patrick to prevent transgender individuals from using the bathroom not reflected on their birth certificate.

Abbott was meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Houston during Patrick’s news conference Monday.