Watch: Ex-Bush aide Matthew Dowd running as Democrat in Texas

Southwest

AUSTIN, Texas (NewsNation Now) — Matthew Dowd, a former political advisor to Republican President George W. Bush, announced this week that he will run as a Democrat for Texas lieutenant governor.

The onetime chief strategist to Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign enters the race as a heavy underdog challenger to Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a firebrand who in two terms as second-in-command has driven the Texas Capitol to the hard right over guns, abortion and immigration.

“I spent a lot more time in my life before I went to work for George W. Bush as a Democrat. To me, today that choice is fundamentally not a choice between red and blue,” Dowd said. “It’s a choice between who stands for democracy in the small d and who stands for autocracy. And I think the two parties are very divergent on that right now. I think the Democrats are the ones that principle small d in our constitution and the Republicans don’t.”

In a video launching his campaign, Dowd said, “The GOP politicians have failed us,” and attacked Patrick over his response to mass shootings, Texas’ deadly winter blackout and leading a charge for more voting restrictions.

NewsNation‘s Adrienne Bankert interview Dowd on Morning in America. You can watch the full interview in the player above.

“As I watched the legislative session in Texas where they didn’t concentrate on the things they needed to like the electric grid like health care like good-paying jobs,” Dowd said. “They went on a culture war especially led by my Republican opponent now Dan Patrick.”

Patrick, who served chairman to former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns in Texas, won reelection in 2018 by more than 400,000 votes. No Democrat has won a statewide election in Texas in more than 25 years.

Dowd worked for Texas’ last Democratic lieutenant governor, Bob Bullock, before joining Bush’s team. He later broke with the former president and worked as an analyst for ABC News.

Democrat Mike Collier, who ran against Patrick in 2018, is also considering a second run for lieutenant governor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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