SALADO — The Republican race for lieutenant governor of Texas came back to Bell County on Tuesday night as the Central Texas Tea Party hosted incumbent David Dewhurst and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, at the Tenroc Ranch event center.
The candidates were last at Tenroc Ranch in January, and in the intervening months the campaign had gotten particularly bruising.
In the days leading up to what would be the last debate before the Tuesday election, Dewhurst supporter and Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson released documents showing Patrick was hospitalized for depression in the 1980s.
Dewhurst disavowed the release of the documents, despite the Patrick campaign’s repeated attempts to link them to him.
“This isn’t about the fight between Jerry Patterson and Dan Patrick,” Dewhurst said.
Both Patrick and Dewhurst said they were grateful for the chance to speak about the issues in the election.
Event moderator Lynn Woolley steered the discussion primarily toward national issues, including the NBA’s decision to force L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team in the wake of his racially charged statements.
Both Patrick and Dewhurst responded they were opposed to same-sex marriage, and found Sterling’s statements to be reprehensible.
“What Donald Sterling said was appalling,” Patrick said. “The NBA did the right thing. We want our players to be role models and we need the owners to be role models.”
Both Patrick and Dewhurst also offered their opinion on the possible impeachment of embattled University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall.
“I’m glad Wallace Hall won’t resign,” Patrick said. He said Hall’s actions were justifiable based on what he allegedly discovered.
“He discovered we have students who were admitted to UT Law with lower LSAT scores than those who were turned away,” Patrick said. “You as a parent expect that your son or daughter will be treated fairly when he or she applies to law school.”
Dewhurst initially tried to avoid the question by saying if the Texas House of Representatives votes to impeach Hall the trial will be held in the Texas State Senate.
“I want to be as objective as possible,” Dewhurst said.
Woolley followed up his initial question about Hall with a question about allegations raised against specific members of the Legislature.
Dewhurst said he also supports fair admission practices and “there ought to be an investigation” into the University of Texas law school’s admissions practices and the lawmakers who allegedly manipulated them.
“We need to give colleges and universities the funds to succeed, but with accountability,” Dewhurst said.