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Texas State Rep. Michelle Beckley joins race for lieutenant governor

State Rep. Michelle Buckley is framed by reporters as they converse at the Capitol.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr.
The Texas Tribune
State Rep. Michelle Beckley, D-Carrollton, speaks to reporters at the General Investigation committee hearing at the Capitol.

She's the third major Democrat to mount a campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Dan Patrick.

Michelle Beckley currently represents part of southern Denton County in the state House. Among her top priorities are expanding Medicaid and fixing the state’s electric grid.

“I know from the last legislative session that there’s a lot of work to be done there,” she said of the grid, large parts of which went dark during last February’s winter storm. “We should have started it in 2011 when we had the first problem.”

Beckley had previously announced a run for Congress against Republican Beth Van Duyne, but dropped out after redistricting drew Beckley out of the district and made the seat much safer for Republicans. (It is, however, not required that a candidate for Congress live in the district in which she runs, only that she resides in Texas.)

The position of lieutenant governor is a powerful one in Texas, as it controls the work of the state Senate and can kill — or push — legislation.

Beckley joins two other Democrats in the race for the position: Mike Collier, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, and Matthew Dowd, a former strategist for President George W. Bush.

“I think voters deserve a choice of someone who’s been to Austin, been elected, flipped a seat and has experience in the building,” she said.

Beckley declined to outline her strategy for winning statewide, a notoriously difficult challenge for Democrats in Texas. Patrick’s close margin in 2018 has given the party some hope, however. He beat Collier by less than five percentage points.

Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.