Ex-Bush strategist Matthew Dowd running as Democrat for Texas Lt. Governor


Matthew Dowd, the chief strategist of former President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection bid, is running as a Democrat for Texas lieutenant governor, kicking off a difficult fight to oust incumbent Dan Patrick.

In a video announcing his campaign, Dowd rails against Patrick as a representative of only a small minority of Texans. He also blames Patrick for hampering local governments’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and failing to take charge after the state’s electric grid crashed earlier this year. 

“The GOP politicians have failed us, especially the cruel and craven lieutenant governor,” Dowd says in the video. 

“Dan Patrick has been lying and deceiving, fracturing the bonds we share and endangering all our lives. He does not believe in the common good. He seeks only to represent himself and the 5 percent of the state that goes along with all this. He puts his ‘me’ over our ‘we.’ ”

Dowd previously worked under former Texas Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, the last Democrat to hold the job, before becoming a Republican in 1999. He went on to work as a senior adviser to the Republican National Committee during the 2002 midterm elections and as the chief strategist for the Bush campaign in the 2004 presidential race.

In 2007, however, he publicly broke with Bush over his handling of the Iraq War and began identifying as an independent. 

In announcing his campaign, Dowd cast himself as an issue-focused candidate, never directly mentioning his party affiliation. He criticized Patrick for waging a “culture war” in Texas over abortion rights and catering to only the most extreme elements of the Republican Party.

“Enough is enough,” Dowd says in the video. “We need more officials who tell the truth. Who believe in public service and common sense with common decency for the common good and the idea of servant leadership.”

Unseating Patrick won’t be an easy task. The incumbent lieutenant governor has a vast fundraising network and the endorsement of former President Trump — something that’s likely to go a long way with Texas conservatives. 

At the same time, Democrats have not won a statewide race in Texas since Bullock won his second term as lieutenant governor in 1994. Patrick, who was first elected in 2014, won reelection in 2018 by a roughly 5-point margin. Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, is also running for another shot at ousting Patrick. 

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