Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick at TX GOP convention in Dallas
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is at the Republican National Convention heading up the Texas delegation. He is taking the place of Governor Greg Abbott, who's still recovering from severe burns.
Patrick cast Texas' votes at Tuesday night's roll call that made Donald Trump the official GOP nominee for president. Leading up to the vote, the lieutenant governor singled out Senator Ted Cruz for praise as the state's favorite son.
He sounded a similar note at a Wednesday breakfast for the Texas delegation, saying Cruz would have other opportunities to run for president in the future. But this year, Patrick says it's important the state's Republicans pull together behind Donald Trump.
"He's going to win Texas. It's the margin [that's important], because we want to keep Texas strong[ly] Republican,” Patrick said in an interview afterwards. “The Democrats made a hard push against [Governor Greg] Abbott and myself in the last election with Battleground Texas, and they got beat by 20 points."
The lieutenant governor says he has been speaking to the Trump campaign about how to win over Texans put off by the nominee's rhetoric. He's hoping Trump follows the game plan he and Abbott used in 2014 to win over nearly half the state's Latino voters.
"And we did it with the following message: No one should have to die to come to this country. No one should suffocate in the back of an 18-wheeler. No one should be left in the desert to die like they are now by the drug cartels, who often drop people in no man's land with no water, and they die in the desert before they ever get anywhere," Patrick said.
The lieutenant governor says he'd be comfortable if Trump carries the state by a margin of eight-to-10 points. That, he says, would be enough to head off a talk of a Democratic resurgence, as Texas looks ahead to the next statewide elections in 2018.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott spoke to Donald Trump. A spokesman says Lieutenant Governor Patrick does not know if Abbott spoke to Trump. We regret the error.