Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to Advance Conservative Agenda in Texas Senate

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According to the Associated Press, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has promised to make Texas "the most fiscally and socially conservative state in the country." The suspicion is that Dewhurst is still stinging from his defeat in a race for United States Senate.

What Dewhurst proposes to do

The Associated Press reports that Dewhurst, who presides over the Texas senate in his capacity as lieutenant governor, is going to advance a series of bills that will push a conservative social and fiscal agenda. These include further restrictions on abortion, a multi-pronged public school choice initiative, a requirement that welfare and unemployment aid recipients be drug-tested, and keeping spending in Texas as low as possible per capita.

Dewhurst was out-conservatived by Ted Cruz

Though Dewhurst claims that he has "moved on," according to the Associated Press, he was defeated by a rookie politician, Ted Cruz, in a race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the United States Senate. Dewhurst, by virtue of his office, his name recognition, and his ability to raise funds, should have been the favorite to win the Senate seat. But Cruz, who had never held elected office before, forced Dewhurst in a runoff in the May Republican primary, according to Fox News Latino. Then Cruz beat Dewhurst in detail in the July runoff. Cruz was successful in casting the race as an outsider vs. establishment contest. Cruz was backed by the tea party, with a visit by Sarah Palin to campaign on his behalf. Dewhurst, a solid conservative, was beaten by Cruz by 13 points for not being sufficiently conservative. Dewhurst may be attempting to correct this impression by advancing a conservative agenda in the Texas Senate.

Dewhurst's political future

A story in Austin Your News Now indicated that Dewhurst fully intends to run for re-election as lieutenant governor in 2014 when his current term is up. He has two possible opponents, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, both of whom are keen to rise in the modern version of the cursus honorum in Texas.

This all could change depending on what Gov. Rick Perry does. Perry, who lost his own bid to become the Republican candidate for president in 2012, has suggested that he will probably run for a new term as governor in 2014, according to the Dallas Morning News. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is contemplating a primary challenge to Perry. If Perry, perhaps to concentrate on another presidential bid in 2016, decided to not run for reelection, Dewhurst might decide that he might like the top spot. Advancing a conservative agenda in the Texas Senate would suit becoming governor just as well as remaining lieutenant governor.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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