AUSTIN, Texas – As he addressed a conservative policy conference in Austin, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick railed against those who claim he isn't a "responsible Republican."
"A responsible Republican is a conservative Republican," Patrick said to the Texas Public Policy Foundation's annual policy orientation on Thursday.
Patrick is up for re-election and heavily-favored to win, but he's been spending big money on campaign ads and is trying to help bring in more conservative colleagues.
Patrick wasted little time Thursday to take shots at the business-wing of the state's GOP, which is a feud spilling over from the bathroom battles of the last legislative session.
"Just because a business group has a business title in front of them does not necessarily mean they're being run by conservative Republicans," Patrick said.
Meanwhile, Patrick's Republican challenger, Scott Milder, who bills himself as a "rational conservative" took a shot at Patrick by calling Patrick's proposal to give Texas teachers a $10,000 raise "disingenuous."
On the left side of the Lt. Governor's race, Democratic frontrunner Mike Collier is basing his campaign on closing a property tax loophole and funding Texas schools.
"Can I raise as much money as Dan Patrick? I don't know," Collier said. "But this message resonates with Texans, and we have a fighting chance."
But as the Lt. Governor's challengers try to take him down, Patrick appears focused on changing the face of the legislature and his ability to steer state policy.
"I don't want our state to be in the hands of moderates, liberals and progressives," Patrick said.