Republican State Sen. Dan Patrick of Texas is currently in a primary runoff with Texas’ current Lieutenant Governor, Republican David Dewhurst. During the primary election In March, Patrick finished well ahead of Dewhurt, defeating him by 13 points. However, since there were other candidates trying to grab the Republican nomination for Lt. Gov., Patrick fell under the 50% threshold needed to secure the party’s nomination. Therefore, Patrick and Dewhurst have been locked in a runoff battle for the GOP nod. The runoff election is May 27th. The two candidates locked horns in a debate on Tuesday. The town hall debate was hosted by the Central Texas Tea Party. Seeing that this was a Tea Party event, and Patrick pushed ahead of Dewhurst during the initial primary campaign thanks largely to heavy support from Tea Party voters, it seemed inevitable that there would be a lot of pandering to the lowest common denominator during this debate. Patrick did not disappoint. Already known for his ultra-conservative views on gay marriage (though, in a hilarious twist, he accidentally endorsed same-sex marriage on Twitter in February) and immigration, Patrick decided to kill two birds with one stone by criticizing climate change and President Obama at the same time. Below is video of the entire debate (watch at you own peril): There was a lot of nuttiness to go around. However, let’s focus solely on Patrick’s statements on climate change and the President. As you can see in the video, an audience member asked Patrick how much money he’d spend if he was Lt. Gov. to “cool the environment.” (Oh brother.) After telling the person that he’d spend nothing at all, Patrick responded with the following bit of ridiculousness:
“I understand why Obama thinks he can change the weather — because he thinks he’s God. He thinks he is the smartest person in the country. He thinks he knows better in Washington what we do in Texas. He thinks he’s the one, through all of his executive orders, that Congress isn’t even up to his level, so I’m not surprised that he also thinks he can change the weather.”
But, he wasn’t done. Oh no sirree. He had to get in a jab at Al Gore,. Patrick also made it appear that there is legitimate dissension in the scientific community when it comes to climate change.
“First of all, when it comes to climate change, there’s been scientific arguments on both sides of the issues. But you know, if you want a tiebreaker, if Al Gore thinks it’s right, you know it’s wrong.”
There is somebody out there that Patrick trusts when it comes to dealing with the Earth’s climate, though.
“I’ll leave it in the hands of God. He’s handled out climate pretty well for a long time.”
That is just a big ol’ truckload of red meat for conservative Texas voters to chomp on right there. The only thing missing was Patrick pulling Ted Nugent up on stage to call Obama a piece of sh*t and to “suck on my machine gun!” If Patrick is able to hold on and grab the GOP nomination over Dewhurst, it provides a glimmer of hope for the Democratic candidate, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. Based on Patrick’s inflammatory comments about immigration and Hispanics, it seems certain that Van de Putte, a Latina, will secure a very large portion of the Hispanic vote. His candidacy may also energize many previously unregistered voters to register and vote in the upcoming election. Van de Putte’s camp has already stated that they’d prefer to face Patrick over Dewhurst.