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

Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
Ryan Poppe
Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson

Mondaywas the last day anyone could file their candidacy in a statewide primary election.  And one of those candidates making a last minute filing is former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

Three years ago, Patterson announced he would not seek re-election as the state’s 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 that same year.

Since then, Patterson 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, but instead of standing here praising the performance of my successor, I find myself compelled to run for office,” said Patterson at a news conference at The Austin Club.

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 the agency’s delay in administering federal housing assistance to hundreds of thousands of coastal homeowners impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

But what chance does Patterson have at defeating Bush during a Republican primary election?  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, he is not as tapped into political resources that are necessary for a statewide campaign,” Henson said.

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

The primary election is scheduled forMarch 6, the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.

Ryan Poppe can be reached atrpoppe@tpr.orgor on Twitter@RyanPoppe1

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Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.