Dan Goeb Patrick (born Dannie Scott Goeb; April 4, 1950) is an American radio talk show host, television broadcaster, and politician. He has served as the 42nd lieutenant governor of Texas since January 2015, under Greg Abbott.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Patrick began his career as a radio and television broadcaster. After forming a chain of sports bars and subsequently going bankrupt, he became a radio host again, this time becoming a conservative commentator. From 2007 to 2015, Patrick was a Republican member of the Texas Senate for the 7th District, which included a small portion of the city of Houston and several Houston-area suburbs located mostly in northwest Harris County.
Patrick defeated three-term incumbent David Dewhurst in the primary runoff for lieutenant governor on May 27, 2014. He then won the position in the fall general election. He was re-elected in 2018, defeating Democratic nominee Mike Collier.
Radio and television
Patrick started his first radio job in 1968 at the age of 18. After college, in 1977, he became a television broadcaster at WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Patrick later held a similar position at WTTG in Washington, D.C., before he became the lead sportscaster with KHOU-TV in Houston.
As a broadcaster, Patrick was able to get attention through various stunts, such as painting himself blue in support for the Houston Oilers and wearing a large cowboy hat. He became the second most popular TV personality in Houston by 1983, as well as one of the most well-known, though surveys also found that he was one of the most disliked. Patrick’s public speaking skills caused him to be nicknamed “the Silver-tongued Devil.” Patrick left his job at KHOU in the mid-1980s after failing to reach an agreement with the station’s new ownership for a long-term contract
Sports bar chain
In November 1983, Patrick and several investors opened one of the first sports bars in the U.S., which they named Dan and Nick’s Sportsmarket. The bar did well for a time, due to “the strength of Patrick’s personality” and an oil boom in Houston at the time, and they eventually took ownership of five sports bars in the city. Patrick’s mother was the company bookkeeper. Questions later arose during the 2014 lieutenant governor’s race about the immigration status of one of Patrick’s employees, Miguel “Mike” Andrade. Patrick and Andrade offered different recollections about Andrade’s employment. The matter was raised by one of Patrick’s opponents, Jerry Patterson, who questioned Patrick’s declared commitment to halt illegal immigration.
When the oil boom of the mid-80s ended, Houston’s economy fell and fiscally damaged Patrick’s sports bar chain. In 1986, after the sports bars failed, Patrick filed for personal bankruptcy and in October 1992, discharged several hundred thousand dollars of debt obligation. Patrick, who stated it took him 10 years for him and his family “to regain financial equilibrium,” has frequently and openly discussed the ordeal and stated how it shaped him as an individual and conservative.
Conservative talk radio host
Following bankruptcy, Patrick reinvented himself as a conservative talk radio host in the 1990s. He began by buying a four-hour timeslot at AM 700 KSEV (then called KTBT) in the summer of 1987. He originally was a sports radio host, operating out of his remaining sports bar. However, he was able to take over the radio station in 1988, and he switched to politics shortly afterward. He hosted a conservative radio talk show. The program, Dan Patrick & Friends, was broadcast in the Houston radio market on KSEV and in Dallas on AM 1160 KVCE. Initially he broadcast under the pseudonym Dan Scott as a radio host, later changing to the current name at the request of his employer to avoid confusion of Patrick with another anchor at a competing station with the last name of Scott.
Patrick grew successful and influential through his talk radio career. He earned high name recognition. As a talk radio host, Patrick advocated for fiscal conservatism, evangelical Christian values on social issues, and he became a vocal opponent of illegal immigration. He was also known as a populist. Patrick’s talk radio career was instrumental to his political rise, including his election and influence in the State Senate and his eventual election as lieutenant governor. One notable decision Patrick made as the owner of a talk radio station was to sign relative unknown Rush Limbaugh for airing on KSEV in 1989 via radio syndication. Limbaugh’s success as a national talk show host helped increase ratings of Patrick’s radio station.
In addition to radio, Patrick anchored The Patrick Report, a half-hour news program which aired on Houston television station KTBU during 2001. Patrick was also general manager of KTBU. By February 2006, Patrick already owned one radio station. In 2006, Patrick signed a deal to purchase radio station KMGS AM 1160 in Highland Park, Texas (now KBDT). By 2013, Patrick was the majority owner of two radio stations, in Houston and Dallas radio markets. Patrick continued broadcasting after his election as a State Senator, and he continued to own KSEV after his election as lieutenant governor.
In November 2008, Patrick began work to produce The Heart of Texas, a movie based on a real-life story of two families in Simonton, a small Houston-area city. The movie was released the next year on DVD.
Patrick proposed a boycott of Bill Maher‘s television show Politically Incorrect over controversial statements made by the comedian following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Patrick is also frequently at odds with the Houston Chronicle and announced a boycott of that newspaper in April 2004. He owned a blog called Chronically Biased, which criticized the newspaper.
Early political career
Patrick first considered running for the United States House of Representatives in 2004.
Patrick was first elected to Texas State Senate‘s seventh district in 2006, winning the primary election with 68.8% of the vote and the general election with 69.2% of the vote. His term began on January 9, 2007 with the convening of the Eightieth Texas Legislature.
During his first month as a legislator, Patrick introduced Senate Bill 186. If passed, it would have made abortion in Texas illegal should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill was co-sponsored by fellow Texas state senators Craig Estes and Glenn Hegar.
Patrick obtained passage of three Senate bills during his first session
In the 2010 general election, Patrick was reelected with 86.4% of the vote. He also endorsed Rick Perry for re-election in the 2010 election. Soon after winning re-election, Patrick announced, and subsequently created, a Tea Party Caucus in the Texas state legislature, which at its creation had 48 legislative members.
W. Gardner Selby, editor of the Austin American-Statesman‘s “PolitiFact Texas”, listed Patrick as third among the top 10 Republican political influencers in Texas. Patrick is also listed in Texas Monthly as one of the state’s most powerful players.
In May 2012, acrimony between Patrick and fellow Republican state senator John Carona was widely reported throughout Texas. In an email exchange, Patrick accused Carona of spreading false rumors about Patrick’s marriage. Carona denied that, and additionally denied having commented on Patrick’s sexuality. Carona further said to Patrick: “I’ve never been shy about sharing my dislike and distrust of you. Put bluntly, I believe you are a snake oil salesman, a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.” News reports suggest that the feud was motivated by positioning to succeed David Dewhurst as lieutenant governor should Dewhurst have won a seat as U.S. senator, in 2012
Lieutenant governor of Texas
On June 26, 2013, Patrick announced he would challenge incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor in 2014. This challenge came despite Patrick’s enthusiastic endorsement of Dewhurst in his failed 2012 bid for the U.S. Senate. Patrick stated that while he had been planning on retiring from politics after his Senate term ended, he decided to run for lieutenant governor after Dewhurst failed to end fellow State Senator Wendy Davis‘s filibuster of Texas Senate Bill 5 and after Senator Jane Nelson refused to run herself.
In his race for lieutenant governor, Patrick was endorsed in July 2013 by Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. In 2012, Huckabee had also endorsed David Dewhurst for the U.S. Senate nomination for the seat vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison. Victory went, however, to the Republican Ted Cruz.
At a candidate forum in College Station in January 2014, Patrick said that he and two other challengers to Dewhurst, Jerry E. Patterson and Todd Staples, could have sought re-election in their current positions as Land Commissioner and Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, respectively, but were instead “putting our positions on the line because we need new leadership. … An energetic, passionate conservative to lead the Senate.”
At the candidate forum, Patrick described education as a key issue in his campaign because of the 25 percent statewide high school drop-out rate, rising to 40 to 50 percent in the inner cities. He stated that “we do not have a future in the state of Texas if we have half of the next adult population – majority being Hispanic – don’t have a high school degree.” Patrick said that as lieutenant governor, he would work to secure the border with Mexico and to abolish sanctuary cities and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. He also called for lowering property taxes.
Patrick led the four-candidate field in the primary with 550,769 votes (41.5%). Dewhurst followed with 376,196 (28.3%); Staples, with 235,981 (17.8%), and Patterson, 165,787 (12.5%). Election watchers did not expect Patrick to get first place. In the runoff election on May 27, Patrick won with 487,829 votes (65.1%), defeating Dewhurst, who had 262,086 votes (34.9%). Patrick’s victory was one of several notable primary victories by Tea Party movement-aligned Republicans in the election runoff.
According to Ross Ramsey of The Texas Tribune, Patrick did not shift to the political middle as the general election approached, contrary to what political candidates typically do. On November 4, 2014, Patrick won the general election against his state Senate colleague, Democrat Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, to become the lieutenant governor-elect of Texas. He was swept into office in a Republican landslide that saw the party retain all statewide elected offices for the fifth consecutive election.
On January 9, 2017, the day before the 85th Texas Legislature began its session, Patrick announced he would run for re-election in 2018. He stated his early announcement was in order to dispel rumors that he would challenge Governor Greg Abbott or U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Patrick easily won the Republican primary on March 6, 2018, defeating Rockwall City Council Member Scott Milder.
In addition to his own campaign, Patrick was active in endorsing and assisting Republican primary candidates in the Texas Senate, including some challengers to GOP incumbents. Patrick’s favored candidates won nearly all the races where Patrick made intraparty endorsements. Later in the year, Patrick donated nearly $175,000 to Texas Senate candidate Pete Flores in a special election; Flores won the election in an upset, increasing Patrick’s chances of keeping a three-fifths GOP majority in the Senate after the 2018 elections. Patrick succeeded in maintaining a three-fifths majority in the Senate, though Republican Senator Kel Seliger was considered a possible swing-vote.
In the November 6 general election, Patrick won re-election to a second term, defeating Democratic nominee Mike Collier. He won about 51% of the vote against Collier’s 46%
Major legislation that Patrick helped pass during his tenure as lieutenant governor include legalization of campus carry and open carry, a bill allowing pastors to refuse marrying couples if it violates their beliefs, and expanded border security and enforcement measures.
Patrick made legislation prohibiting state or local governments from issuing subpoenas on pastors’ sermons a priority in the 2017 session. Governor Abbott signed the bill into law on May 21, 2017.
Patrick made legislation requiring the U.S. national anthem at state-funded events a priority for the 2021 session, along with legislation to protect election integrity in Texas. Otherwise, Patrick assumed a low-key profile at the beginning of the legislative session. Following the regular 2021 session, The New York Times described Patrick and Governor Abbott as “the driving force behind one of the hardest right turns in recent state history,” with Patrick the more conservative of the two.
Patrick opposes abortion and supported Texas’ “Mandatory Ultrasound Bill”, a bill signed into law in May 2011 by Governor Perry, which requires women seeking abortion to have a sonogram of the fetus taken at least twenty-four hours before the abortion is performed.
Patrick opposes abortion in cases of incest and rape. In January 2014, when he was asked about exceptions to outlawing abortion, Patrick said, “The only exception would be if the life of the mother was truly in danger…but that is rare.
Patrick supports increasing the number of charter schools in the state.
In February 2011, Patrick, who at the time was vice chairman of the Texas senate’s Committee on Education, spoke in favor of cutting an unspecified number of non-teaching positions from the state’s public school districts, citing positions such as “math department supervisors” or “curriculum experts”. At the time, Patrick cited a statistic later determined to be misleading by PolitiFact.com that Texas’s 1,200+ public school districts, considered as a group, are the fifth-largest employer in the world.
Patrick is on record as determined to establish creationism within the public school curriculum in Texas, despite court rulings that such a policy would violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In 2019, Patrick pushed to increase Texas teachers’ paychecks by $5,000.
In 2021, Patrick supported legislation to prevent public schools from requiring that students read writings by prominent civil rights figures, such as Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King Jr., when covering women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement in social studies classes
In 2019, Patrick called for requiring background checks for gun sales between two strangers
Patrick opposes illegal immigration. As a talk radio host, he reserved some of his “most hard-edged oratory for illegal immigrants.” Patrick expressed support for Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration enforcement law, and supports passing a similar law in Texas that would allow local law enforcement to ask lawfully-stopped individuals about their immigration status and would make it a state misdemeanor to be present in Texas as an illegal immigrant.
As Lieutenant Governor, Patrick moved to keep National Guard troops sent to the Texas-Mexico border during the illegal immigration surge of 2014 indefinitely, rather than until March 2015, as originally planned. Patrick’s 2015 budget in the Texas Senate called for spending $815 million on border security, which he said was more than the previous seven years combined. Governor Greg Abbott signed the measure—for about $800 million—into law. In a June 2018 interview on Fox Business Network, Patrick estimated that 30 million illegal immigrants lived in the U.S
In 2014, after a federal court ruled that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Patrick expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage, and vowed to fight such court decisions should he be elected to the Lt. Governor’s office. Patrick argued that if the Texas ban was removed, then it would lead to the legalization of bigamy, pedophilia and incest.
Patrick strongly opposed HERO, an unsuccessful Houston ordinance intended to establish legal protections for gay and transgender residents along with some other classes, as he claimed that the ordinance would lead to sexual predators being freely able to enter women’s restrooms. Patrick has stated that if necessary, he would support legislation to require people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender listed on their birth certificates.
Hours after the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Patrick tweeted a picture of the Bible verse, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7.” An adviser released a statement that the tweet had been pre-scheduled, and the tweet was later deleted. Patrick issued a statement on the incident, again stating that the tweet was pre-planned and that “I didn’t pull down the FB post & tweet because God’s word is wrong. His word is never wrong … I took it down to stop the hateful comments and the misinformation being spread of God’s message to all of us- straight or gay.”
In May 2016, Patrick criticized the Obama administration after it released a directive stating that all public schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker facilities that correspond with their identified gender, stating that, on the prospect of the federal government withholding funding for Texas schools for not following the directive, “he can keep his 30 pieces of silver [and that w]e will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.” In 2017, Patrick strongly advocated for a bathroom bill that would prohibit transgender students at public schools from using any restroom other than that of their biological sex. Patrick described the legislation as a “legislative priority.” Patrick encouraged state Senator Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham to introduce a bathroom bill similar to a previous law adopted in 2016 in North Carolina, and strongly pushed for it at its proposal on January 5, 2017. Texas House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, a moderate Republican, said that the measure is not an important matter for lower chamber.
In April 2019, Patrick called Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke “light in the loafers”, a slur often used to insinuate someone as gay, though O’Rourke is heterosexual. Patrick also called O’Rourke a “moron.” Patrick later stated that while he stood by his comments, the insinuation was unintentional.
In 2019, Patrick opposed a bill that would have decriminalized simple possession of cannabis in Texas. After the Texas House passed the bill, he announced that it was dead on arrival in the Senate.
In 2021, during an interview, Patrick expressed that he was open to some medical cannabis changes, while he downplayed the more ambitious efforts. He said: “We’re not gonna turn this into California where anybody can get a slip from a doctor and go down to some retail store and say ‘You know, I got a headache today so I need marijuana,’ because that’s just a veil for legalizing it for recreational use.” In fact, on the date of the statement, it was already legal to sell recreational cannabis to adults in California, under proposition 64
Domestic partner benefits
In November 2012, Patrick asked Texas attorney general Greg Abbott‘s office to issue an opinion on the constitutionality of government entities providing domestic partner insurance benefits. An amendment to the Texas Constitution in 2005 limits marriage to heterosexual relationships and prohibits similar, alternative legal arrangements. Patrick did not disclose his own views on same-sex marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples. He told the Houston Chronicle that his request was prompted by Dallas County’s November 2012 decision and an Austin-area public school district’s October 2012 decision to join other Texas cities and counties in extending benefits to their unmarried employees’ heterosexual or homosexual partners
Statutory rape laws
Patrick was interviewed extensively on ABC‘s 20/20 segment “The Age of Consent: When Young Love Is a Sex Crime,” defending his position strict Texas statutory rape laws. “While it seems unfair, he was 19, she was 15,” says Patrick, “That’s the price you pay. Even if you end up getting married.
Patrick is a strong supporter of maintaining Confederate monuments on public display, despite opposition from civil rights groups who consider the statues as a defense of the institution of slavery and of the Civil War. As one of six members of the board that oversees the Texas State Capitol grounds, Patrick described the need: “to learn from history all of our history, including events and times that many would like to forget. … Our goal should be to have a meaningful dialogue for future generations so those moments in our history are not repeated
In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on March 23, 2020, Patrick stated that he was willing to risk his life from the COVID-19 pandemic if it would avoid an economic shutdown, which he stated would negatively impact subsequent generations. Patrick also stated that he thought many grandparents agreed with him on this. Patrick later moderated his rhetoric while continuing to show skepticism of shutting down the economy.
Patrick worked to increase access to hydroxychloroquine, an unproven drug to treat the coronavirus which President Trump promoted. On April 7, 2020, Patrick announced the creation of a task force to make recommendations on how to re-open Texas’s economy.
Patrick again garnered controversy on April 21, when he defended his previous comments on the pandemic by saying “And what I said when I was with you that night, there are more important things than living. And that’s saving this country for my children, and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us. And I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die, but man, we got to take some risks and get back in the game, and get this country back up and running.”
In May 2020, Patrick paid a $7,000 fine imposed on a Dallas businesswoman after she defied Texas’s lockdown orders in order to keep her hair salon open. He said, “Seven days in jail, no bail and a $7,000 fine is outrageous.
After the 2019 El Paso shooting, Patrick listed factors that he believed contributed to the shooting, starting off with video games, saying, “We’ve always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill.
While growing up, Patrick and his family were “not very religious’ After moving to Houston, he and his wife attended a Catholic church, but he joined a Baptist church soon after learning about it. Though Patrick was a member of the Second Baptist Church Houston since 1992, he stated he was not truly a Christian until March 1994, when, on a television-and-radio convention in Las Vegas, he repented of his sins, committed his life to God, and was saved. After this, Patrick’s faith became an important part of his life, and he considered going into Christian ministry for a time.
Patrick, an evangelical Christian, is a member of various Christian organizations, including Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the International Bible Society, and has served as guest pastor of his church, the Second Baptist Church Houston. He is very outspoken about his Christian faith, and he stated in his inauguration speech upon becoming lieutenant governor that “I respect all faiths and religions, but I am a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third, and I praise Jesus for this moment and this day.” Patrick was baptized in the Jordan River during a trip to Israel in 2016.