POLITICS

Latina Running For Lieutenant Governor In Texas, One Of The Biggest Races In The Nation

Leticia Van de Putte

Leticia Van de Putte  (2008 Getty Images)

It’s not one of the most covered elections nationally, but it’s regarded in political circles as one of the most compelling and potentially important state-level ones.

The Texas lieutenant governor race between state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a Democrat of Hispanic descent, and Tea Party challenger state Sen. Dan Patrick was singled out in Governing Magazine as the most important of the elections for that position nationwide.

The victor of the race for Texas lieutenant governor would wield considerable power in the state, Governing Magazine noted, as well as influence political dynamics on a national scale.

“Texas' LG is famously powerful — controlling the Senate's agenda, its committee structure and its rules, as well as playing a major role in crafting the state budget,” the magazine said.

Beyond that, national observers will be monitoring the results closely to see how Tea Party candidates fare with a broader electorate, as well as how Texas, which tends to lean Republican in statewide elections, responds to a Latina Democrat.

"Van de Putte is not a polarizing figure, and unlike the remaining statewide candidates, she has a long and impressive political track record," said Mark P. Jones, a Rice University political scientist to Governing Magazine. "The policies and rhetoric that served Patrick so well in the primary may very well come back to haunt him in November, particularly some statements that are seen as being anti-Hispanic by most Texas Hispanics."

With Van de Putte and her running partner, gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Wendy Davis, Texas for the first time has two women leading a major party’s ticket for the top state office.

“This is a race every Texan needs to care about,” said yellowdogwire.com, which describes itself as a voice for Southern progressives. “Moderate Republicans quietly prefer the Democrat. She has the potential to really fire up the Latino electorate in Texas.”

Added Breitbart, a conservative publication: “While the chances of Van de Putte winning are small, her campaign could become the new face of the attempted Democratic resurgence in Texas.”

In a recent appearance,Van de Putte told the crowd that she’s ready to fight Patrick in a race where he is seen as having the advantage.

"I ain't no pushover. I ain't no East Coast Liberal. I ain't no West Coast Democrat," she said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "Texans deserve a lieutenant governor who will listen, problem solve and work across the aisle to put Texas first."

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