POLITICS

Republican Dan Patrick defeats Leticia Van de Putte in Texas lieutenant governor race

Texas Lieutenant Governor hopefuls state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, left, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, right, take part in a televised debate, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)

Texas Lieutenant Governor hopefuls state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, left, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, right, take part in a televised debate, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)

Tea party-backed state Sen. Dan Patrick has been elected Texas lieutenant governor and will oversee the state Senate.

Patrick finished first in a bitter four-way Republican primary before crushing 11-year incumbent David Dewhurst in a runoff.

The Houston resident then bested Democratic state Senate colleague Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio on Tuesday. Better funded in deeply conservative Texas, Patrick was the general election's wire-to-wire front-runner.

A radio talk show host, Patrick also headed the Senate Education Committee. He's a fierce proponent of school vouchers and charter schools.

Patrick has taken a hard-line stance on immigration, promising to secure the Texas-Mexico border at the expense of popular, long-standing policies.

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Often confrontational, Patrick has vowed to cut property taxes but would consider raising sales taxes slightly.

Van de Putte needed to rally Latino voters but many did not realize she was Latina. The state senator who is of Mexican descent uses her husband’s surname and has said she did not want to "exploit" or play up her heritage for political gain and only uses it when it is appropriate.

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