Mike Collier wins Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and will face uphill battle against Dan Patrick

Mike Collier, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, speaks at an event at Whitestone Brewery on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 in Cedar Park. (Allie Goulding For The Texas Tribune, Allie Goulding For The Texas Tribune)

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Democrat Mike Collier will get his rematch against Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick again this fall, four years after he lost to the incumbent by 4 percentage points in the same race. In Tuesday night’s runoff for the Democratic nomination, Collier defeated state Rep. Michelle Beckley, from Carrollton, according to Decision Desk HQ.

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“Texas, I’m honored to be your Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor. We will fight in every county for every vote, taking no Texan for granted,” Collier tweeted in a victory statement. “And together, we will defeat Dan Patrick and take back our beloved Texas.”

Collier and his opponent had few policy differences but presented themselves with different backgrounds and experiences. He is an accountant and auditor by training but has never held elected office.

After Collier lost to Patrick in 2018 by a margin smaller than what Democrats in Texas usually experience, Collier pitched himself this year as the party’s best bet at unseating the incumbent, who is a close ally of former President Donald Trump and helped shepherd a slew of conservative laws through the Texas Legislature last year. But the circumstances this year are much different than they were four years ago, when Democrats rode a wave of disapproval of the Trump presidency that boosted their party’s success on the ballot.

The tables have turned this year. Republicans are riding on extensive disapproval of the Biden administration, which will make any path to office for Collier extremely difficult. A Democrat has not won statewide office since 1994.

The Texas lieutenant governor oversees the state’s 31-member Senate, making it the most powerful elected position in the Texas Legislature. The officeholder can dictate much of the state’s policy by influencing which bills move forward and which ones are halted.

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Correction, May 25, 2022: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect detail about when Democrats in Texas last held statewide office. 1994 was the last year a Democrat won a statewide election, not the last time one held a statewide seat.

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