TEXAS, USA — Among this year's most high-profile midterm election races was the showdown for Texas' lieutenant governor, which saw incumbent Republican Dan Patrick defeat his Democratic challenger Mike Collier.
But Patrick appears to have survived the opposition, with the Associated Press projecting that he will retain his seat for a third term.
This is now the second election in a row in which Patrick has defeated Collier, the last time being in 2018.
Despite Patrick leading in polls ahead of the election -- including one showing him ahead of Collier by 15 points -- there was some interest in the race due to numerous Republicans endorsing Collier over Patrick, including State Sen. Kel Seliger and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
Who is Dan Patrick?
Patrick was first elected lieutenant governor in the 2014 midterm election and is seeking his third consecutive term in the office.
Prior to his current position, Patrick served in the Texas Senate, representing a portion of northwest Harris County.
While holding the second-highest executive office in the state, Patrick has helped pass legislation legalizing campus carry and open carry, while expanding border security and enforcement measures. He has also made legislation forbidding state and local governments from issuing subpoenas on pastors' sermons, and legislation requiring the national anthem be performed at state-funded events.
Who is Mike Collier?
This is the second time Collier has vied for the lieutenant governor seat, after previously losing to Patrick in the 2018 midterm election by about 5% of the vote.
Collier has only been a Democrat for a little less than a decade. He previously twice voted against Barack Obama for president while he was still a Republican.
Collier has a background in petroleum land management, and later became a certified public accountant and auditor for PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He eventually served as CFO for a Texas oil company. Per his website, Collier says the following topics will be his top priorities if elected: fixing the state's energy grid, codifying Roe v. Wade protections into state law (as well as repealing current laws leaving no exception for rape and incest) and closing tax loopholes for out-of-state corporations, while reining in exploding property taxes.
What does the Lt. Governor do?
Texas voters elect a lieutenant governor every four years. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was elected to his second term in office in 2018. This year, he's hoping to be elected to a third straight term.
Unlike the joint ticket of U.S. President and Vice President, Texas elects its governor and lieutenant governor separately. Because the governor and lieutenant governor are separated on the ballot, they can be from different parties -- which has happened before.
Most recently, in the late 1990s, Democrat Bob Bullock served as lieutenant governor under Republican Gov. George W. Bush.
According to the Texas Constitution, if the governor leaves office through a resignation, or if the governor becomes unable to run the state, the lieutenant governor automatically assumes the governor's office. (That is how former Gov. Rick Perry initially took office. He was lieutenant governor under George W. Bush, and became governor when Bush became president.)
The lieutenant governor also serves as president of the Texas Senate, which gives him the power to appoint senators to committees and decide which bills make it to senate committees for discussion. The lieutenant governor oversees legislative debate on the Senate floor, and casts a vote if there is a tie.
The lieutenant governor also leads the legislative budget board, which means he has significant control over the state’s entire budgeting process.