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Two days after the candidates’ white-hot debate in Houston, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for re-election, saying challenger Dan Patrick has “consistently proven to be unable to tell the truth.” | WITH VIDEO AND AUDIO 

May 4th, 2014
Dan Patrick allegedly bought radio station with laundered money borrowed from backer


UPDATED 6:52 a.m. MONDAY, MAY 5: Land Commissioner and former lieutenant governor hopeful Jerry Patterson will endorse David Dewhurst in the primary runoff contest over Dan Patrick, Dallas radio station KERA reported on Sunday.

Patterson said the decision to endorse was “a very clear choice. We have a person who has consistently proven to be unable to tell the truth versus one who has had some hiccups along the way but is a substantially better choice for lieutenant governor than somebody who has a history of not being able to tell the truth.”

That was just the latest development over the weekend in the white-hot contest between the two men.

On Friday, they spent an hour calling each other a liar in a debate broadcast by Houston Public Media. The next day, The Dallas Morning News published a story on Patrick’s takeover of a Houston radio station. The report said that Patrick borrowed money for the purchase from a businessman who had bilked a Louisiana savings and loan out of millions:

Seeking to recover some of the money bilked from thrifts in the 1980s savings and loan crisis, two federal entities eventually sued [W. Harold] Sellers. Among other things, they alleged that he used laundered S&L loan money to finance Patrick’s plan to buy what is now KSEV-AM in late 1988. Earlier that year, Sellers fraudulently obtained $86 million in loans from the New Orleans thrift, federal officials charged.

Patrick said in a written statement to The Dallas Morning News this week that he did not know any fraudulently obtained funds were used in the purchase of the radio station. He described Sellers as a “silent partner” who was not involved in the operations or management of Sunbelt Broadcasting. But in a 1995 deposition that Patrick gave in the federal lawsuit against Sellers, Patrick indicated that Sellers played a key role at the radio station

Through a spokesman, Dewhurst told the Dallas Morning News that the story demonstrated that it becomes clearer by the day that [Patrick] is unfit to preside over the Senate and its budget-making authority.” Patrick’s campaign shot back that the story had been peddled by the Dewhurst camp for months and showed the incumbent’s desperation.

Dewhurst and Patrick are set to debate again on Wednesday in Dallas. The runoff election to decide who will get the GOP’s nod for lieutenant governor is May 27.



UPDATED 7:43 a.m. SUNDAY, MAY 4: The first televised debate in the increasingly bitter Republican runoff for Texas lieutenant governor featured testy exchanges between incumbent David Dewhurst and challenger Dan Patrick, who frequently attacked each other personally while sparring over topics like immigration policy and last summer’s anti-abortion legislation.

Dewhurst, at one point calling a Patrick statement about the budget a “baldfaced lie,” used the opportunity to continue attacks from his campaign ads, painting Patrick as dishonest and slamming him for a personal bankruptcy.

“This man is divorced from reality,” Dewhurst said, adding later, “Dan has a reputation in the Senate as a whiner, he’s a victim, that’s why he’s saying everything [that] we are saying is not true.”

Patrick, a Houston state senator and the frontrunner in the race, said he was “not going to let the lieutenant governor stand here and mislead the voters.”

He also criticized Dewhurst for failing to prevent last summer’s filibuster of anti-abortion legislation, which launched state Sen. Wendy Davis‘s gubernatorial candidacy.

Had Dewhurst displayed the proper leadership, Patrick said, “we wouldn’t have Wendy Davis as a rock star today and Texas with a target on our back from millionaires,” across the country.

The winner of the May 27 runoff will face Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, a San Antonio state senator, in the general election.



MORGAN SMITH and JOHN REYNOLDS report for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.

COVER: Gov. Rick Perry speaks in favor of a 2011 resolution asserting the 10th amendment’s checks-and-balances on federal and state powers as State Sen. Dan Patrick (far left) and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (behind the governor) look on. PHOTO by OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

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