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Politics

'Back In The Saddle Again': Former Land Commissioner Files Candidacy To Win Back Old Job

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Ryan Poppe/Texas Public Radio
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Jerry Patterson filed his candidacy for land commissioner in the statewide primary election in March.

Today was the last day to file for candidacy in the statewide primary election. One of the candidates making a last-minute filing was former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Three years ago, Patterson announced he would not seek re-election as land commissioner, but instead would be running for lieutenant governor. Patterson lost that primary election to Dan Patrick and endorsed George P. Bush for land commissioner.

Since then, Patterson has said he’s had a change of heart and filed to run against Bush in the 2018 Republican primary election.

“I know you are all surprised by my presence here in this capacity as a new candidate for Texas land commissioner," Patterson said at a news conference at The Austin Club,"but instead of standing here praising the performance of my successor, I find myself compelled to run for office,”

Patterson’s two chief complaints with Bush’s job performance are transparency concerning the General Land Office’s $450 million Alamo Restoration Project and the agency’s delay in administering federal housing assistance to hundreds of thousands of coastal homeowners impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

What chance does Patterson have at defeating Bush in the primary? Jim Henson, professor with the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Politics Project, said Patterson is well-known and has a lot of experience when it comes to running a statewide campaign.

“On the liability side," Henson said, "he is not as tapped into political resources that are necessary for a statewide campaign."

Bush is sitting on an estimated $2.5 million in campaign funds; Patterson said he plans on raising around $500,000 to cover his campaign costs.

The primary election is scheduled for March 6.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1.

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