Carrollton Rep Michelle Beckley seeks Democratic nomination for Texas lieutenant governor
Two-term North Texas state representative Michelle Beckley will launch her Democratic campaign for lieutenant governor on Tuesday in a bid to challenge a powerful and well-funded incumbent, Republican Dan Patrick.
Beckley, in an interview with The morning news from Dallas, said she will seek to portray Patrick and his “extremism” agenda as a politician more beholden to his powerful donors than to his own convictions.
But before he can take on Patrick, Beckley must first clear a field of Democrats. She joins Houston accountant and businessman Mike Collier and former ABC political commentator Matthew Dowd in the Democratic nomination contest.
Winning will be a challenge as Collier is years ahead in connecting with Democrats across the state while Dowd enjoys national recognition through his appearances on national television and as an advisor to the former president. George W. Bush.
However, recent polls show that a majority of Texas Democrats have yet to decide who they will vote for in the primaries. This, in part, led to Beckley entering the race.
“The field is wide open,” Beckley said. “This is the reality of the situation.”
Beckley, 51, said she believes she can gobble up this real estate of undecided Democrats by focusing on her eligibility and track record. Of the three, Beckley is the only one to win an election and the only one who can cite a record number of votes as proof of her progressive good faith.
Beckley first won the Texas House election in 2018 in an election that saw several Republican seats tilted. Beckley’s election surprised Democrats enough that she did not receive a congratulatory call from the state party until long after her contest decision was made, as no one expected a Democrat to stand a chance in Denton County, she said.
Returning the seat immediately made her a top Democrat in Texas House. Holding him in a tough re-election campaign in 2020 helped that.
Known as much for her straightforwardness as the blue streak in her hair, the owner of the Carrollton Bird Shop has become a reliable progressive who often leans on her generosity. The blue streak is gone – “My hair is tired,” Beckley said – but liberal policy remains.
Expanding Medicaid, fully funding public education, and legalizing marijuana are among its top priorities. She also said repairing Texas’ ailing power grid will be one of the centerpieces of her campaign platform.
“The vast majority of voters in general are not happy with what happened in the Legislature,” she said. “You have your bounties on women, you have a free gun for everyone. People want Medicaid to be fully funded. These are all popular positions that our lieutenant governor does not have because he is aimed at the far right of the right. “
Beckley’s candidacy for lieutenant governor comes after she suspended a campaign for Congress.
She announced in June that she would challenge Republican MP Beth Van Duyne while still in Washington during the quorum break earlier this year which failed to thwart the controversial voter integrity laws of the Texas GOP. The timing of its announcement was somewhat awkward as Democrats tried to fight the GOP’s narrative that they had only fled Austin as part of a political fundraiser.
She ended that campaign after Republicans removed her from that district as well as her state house district during the redistribution.
Winning the primary on March 1 will be the first test. If Beckley is successful, she will face Patrick and the $ 26 million campaign war chest he has amassed, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, said he was happy to see a woman enter the race and he expects the field to grow.
“She has shown that she is a tough candidate who has won tough races,” Espinoza said. Winning will take money and resolve. I don’t know what their fundraising capacity is. But she certainly brings a lot of determination to the race.