Politics motivating Abbott’s priorities

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent re-election bid announcement.

By Brian Chasnoff

If timing is everything in politics, Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election bid announcement on Friday came right on time.

Held just days before the start of a special legislative session, Abbott’s event at Sunset Station was an opportunity to change a pesky, potentially perilous political story line: that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, has driven the Legislature’s conservative agenda this year.

Determined to see such legislation become law, Patrick effectively forced Abbott last month to call the special session. He did so by stalling a bill in the Senate needed to keep state agencies open.  . . .

Nonetheless, the governor is struggling to reaffirm his dominance as the top Republican in Texas, said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson.

“A governor can’t afford to have the story line that the lieutenant governor is driving the agenda,” Jillson said. “He was, as he should have been, uncomfortable with the story line from the session that Patrick was driving the agenda, forcing his hand on the special session, those kinds of things.”

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