Cruz Wins Support of Patrick, Former Perry Donors

Posted by Patrick Svitek - The Texas Tribune on
Photo by Cooper Neill/Spence

In a move that further consolidates his home-state support, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has won the backing of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as well as a raft of major financial boosters of former Gov. Rick Perry.

Cruz plans to announce Monday that he has secured the endorsement of Patrick, arguably the most powerful elected official in Texas and the third statewide official to back Cruz. Patrick will serve as the Texas chairman of Cruz's campaign.

The endorsement marks a reconciliation of sorts between Cruz and Patrick, both darlings of the Tea Party in Texas. In the 2012 election that sent Cruz to Washington, D.C., Patrick, then a state senator, was allied with Cruz's opponent, then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

Cruz is also expected to reveal he is beefing up his National Finance Committee with six prominent donors to Perry, who dropped out of the presidential race last month amid fundraising problems. The new members of the committee include Dallas billionaire Darwin Deason and Deason's son Doug.

Other former Perry donors now backing Cruz include Cinemark founder Lee Roy Mitchell and his wife Tandy, Houston investor Jim Lee and Dallas tax consultant Brint Ryan. Lee was a leader of Perry's finance team for his 2010 gubernatorial re-election campaign, while Ryan was the national finance chairman of the Opportunity and Freedom PAC, the now-defunct super PAC to which Deason contributed.

Cruz also plans to name Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton a Texas co-chair of his campaign. Sitton will join fellow commissioner David Porter, who announced last week he was signing up with Cruz's campaign as its first Texas co-chair.

The list of endorsements continues to solidify Cruz's home-field advantage, and it comes as a GOP rival with deep Texas ties, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, convenes his family and top donors in Houston to chart a path forward for his struggling campaign. In addition to the three statewide elected officials, Cruz claims the support of more than third of the Republicans in the Texas Legislature and about a quarter of the GOP members of the state's congressional delegation.

Cruz is scheduled to announce the endorsements Monday morning at a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Houston.

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