Dewhurst announces run for US Senate

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Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has announced he is running for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

Dewhurst announced his campaign Tuesday through an online video in which he focuses on concern with national debt and spending. Dewhurst said he is a proven fiscal conservative, along with Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry has yet to officially announce plans to run for president, but may do so within the next month.

Since 2003 Dewhurst has served as the second-highest ranking official in the state. He lives in Houston and is a businessman who has served in the U.S. Air Force, the CIA and the State Department.

Even with the tight state budget this session, Dewhurst did not support tapping the Rainy Day Fund. He recently helped create the Texas Joint Committee for Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency to confront controversy about the role of research in universities.

In the video Dewhurst said if he is voted into the U.S. Senate his first act will be to sign the “cut, cap, balance” pledge.

“Washington, to me, spends money we don’t have on programs we don’t need,” Dewhurst said in his announcement.

The current U.S. senators for Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, are sponsors of the act’s aims to lower the federal deficit.

Sherri Greenberg, former state representative and director of UT’s Center for State Politics and Governance, said it’s early in the race, but Dewhurst is a favorite.

“Certainly with the legislative session that just occurred there will be things that he can point to,” Greenberg said. “However, on the flip side there were cuts, such as the $4 billion cuts to education. That will be an issue to some people.”

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is the first candidate who announced his run for the lieutenant governor position that Dewhurst will vacate if he wins the senate seat. He said Dewhurst has significant campaign funding, but the senate race has several good candidates.

“There’s only so much money you can effectively spend and if the other candidates raise enough money to execute their campaign plans it will be a competitive race,” Patterson said.

The other Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate seat include Ted Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general; Tom Leppert, a former Dallas mayor; and Elizabeth Jones, a current railroad commissioner of Texas. Currently, the only Democratic candidate is former Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez.