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Everything On The Line For Tonight's Dewhurst-Patrick Republican Runoff Debate

David Dewhurst campaign

Following two weeks of negative campaign ads in the Republican lieutenant governor runoff, Dan Patrick and David Dewhurst will face off in a runoff election debate tonight in Houston. One political pundit said Dewhurst will need a blowout win at the debate if he is to gain in traction in the race.

Just when some had believed incumbent Dewhurst’s campaign had gone flat, he emerged with a set of attacks, alleging that Patrick changed his name to avoid the Internal Revenue Service.

But when examined more closely, those allegations turned out to be false and Patrick’s campaign seized the moment.

The Austin-American Statesman actually labeled the Dewhurst ad "half-true" because Patrick did change his name to Dan Patrick in the 1980s for radio personality purposes.

Tonight the two candidates will be asked a series of questions regarding not only immigration, but also infrastructure, border security, energy and the environment.  

Rice University Political Science Chair Mark Jones, who has been closely following the race, said Dewhurst needs to win this debate by a wide margin. Jones said the latest private polls shows Patrick leading almost 2-1.

“All Dan Patrick needs is a draw or even a slight loss, whereas David Dewhurst needs a blowout victory, which is going to be next to impossible unless Dan Patrick has a meltdown on the debate stage,” Jones said.

The debate is being hosted by Houston Public Media and the Houston Chronicle.

Editor's Note: You can hear the debate live on KSTX 89.1 FM at 7 p.m.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.