AUSTIN (Nexstar) – New polling shows one of Texas’ most prominent politicians has a single-digit lead with less than four months until the November midterm elections.
The rematch between incumbent Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Democratic challenger Mike Collier is tightening. A new University of Houston Poll shows Collier 5 points behind Patrick among likely Texas voters — the same margin he lost by in 2018. Nine percent of likely voters are still undecided.
The lieutenant governor is one of the most important jobs in the Texas legislature. As future president of the Senate, the winner of this race will have a large influence over the policy debated and passed in coming legislative sessions and will be responsible for outlining the state budget.
This is Collier’s second time running for lieutenant governor. This time around, he feels more confident in his ability to win and is encouraged by the poll numbers.
“I lost by four points. But that was on election day. We were gaining on Dan Patrick all the way to Election Day. Now we’re starting four months down with four months to go,” Collier said in an interview with Nexstar.
On Monday, he launched his first television ad, targeting Texans’ power grid frustrations and criticizing Patrick for not doing enough to prevent blackouts.
“People are furious about the power grid. I’m furious about the power grid, and Dan Patrick hasn’t done anything about it,” he said. “Texans need to know this and they should be furious.”
Collier, a small business owner, has already raised nearly $3 million, doubling his 2018 total.
“He’s been campaigning effectively, nonstop since 2017. That has the tendency to move the needle,” said University of Houston political science professor at Brandon Rottinghaus.
Rottinghaus said that Patrick is a one of the strongest incumbents in recent Texas history. Patrick’s campaign reported $27 million cash on hand, compared with Collier’s $534,000, according to the Houston Chronicle. This monetary difference is what the professor says is likely one of Collier’s biggest challenges.
“Dan Patrick came on to the political scene like a house on fire in the mid-2000s. He’s been active in Republican circles, he’s led the Republican Party to a much more conservative version of itself,” he said. “If it weren’t for the fact that there’s such a tremendous money difference right now, I would say that this is really the race to watch.”
Patrick’s campaign did not respond to Nexstar’s request for comment or an interview. However, a spokesperson for RNC Texas sent a statement about the race via email.
“Thanks to strong Republican leaders like Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Texas is leading the nation in job growth, entrepreneurship, and innovation,” Macarena Martinez said. “Time and time again, Texans have shown Democrats that the Lone Star State is a conservative stronghold and will resoundingly re-elect Lieutenant Governor Patrick and reject leftist pawn Mike Collier in November.”
Collier believes Texans are ready for a change.
“If I’m elected Lieutenant Governor — the president of the Senate — with the power to set the agenda for the legislature, it’s because the majority of Texans have chosen me because of what I stand for: fixing the grid, public [education], honesty around property taxes, school safety and the rest,” Collier said.