Though he hasn’t officially announced his candidacy, Democrat Mike Collier is expected to enter the race for Texas lieutenant governor. The Houston-area accountant ran in 2018 to try to unseat Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and lost. If he runs against Patrick again this year, he’ll first have to beat Matthew Dowd in a Democratic primary race. Dowd announced his candidacy on Wednesday.
Listen to the interview with Collier above or read the transcript below to learn more about why Collier is considering another run for the lieutenant governorship, how he wants to “fix the damn grid” and why he believes Democrats are the “guardian[s] of our rights,” including when it comes to voting, women’s health and guns.
This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.
Texas Standard: You came close to beating Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in 2018. What makes you think that you can beat him this time?
Mike Collier: We were gaining on him right up to Election Day. And I felt then, and I feel now, that if I just had more time and money, I could beat him. You know, Texans are looking for somebody that would solve the many problems that we have in a state. The question is, are you better off now than four years ago? The answer is no. And we’re going to run the same campaign, which is to go out and talk to every Texan in every county and earn their trust and earn their vote. And we’re going to be talking about the problems that we face and how we need to solve them – work together to solve them.
Democrats still don’t have anyone on the top of the ticket for 2022. Why did you decide lieutenant governor was the race you wanted to run?
If you want to get something done and solve problems, that’s the position. And we got a lot of problems in the state, that I love dearly. And lieutenant governor is on the very front edge of setting the agenda to solve the problems like fixing the damn grid, which is a big problem; permanent funding for public education; property taxes are so unfair to homeowners and small businesses. There’s a lot that we could talk about from a policy standpoint. But the lieutenant governor is on the very cutting edge of setting the agenda. And so that’s the position. It suits my nature. As somebody coming out of the business world, what I really feel is worthwhile is solving problems; the more complex, the more intriguing they are. And so, lieutenant governor is the position where you can really make a difference in this state.
Do you have a preference about whom you would prefer to run alongside? There’s been a lot of buzz around Beto O’Rourke, of course.
I’m not authorized to tell you who’s going to run for governor. And so I’m not going to share with you what I know or what I think. I will say this: I mean, there are good, good candidates that will step forward. At least one of them will step forward for governor. I’m highly confident of that. Sooner rather than later, I think we’ll have a very strong gubernatorial candidate. And I know them all, all the possibilities. And I believe that we’ll be able to work very well together.
You think there’s going to be more than one Democrat who will to run for governor?
That would surprise me if more than one jumps in. But I think that there are possibilities out there and one will step forward, make the decision and run. And then off we go. That’s my that’s my prediction.
His name is Beto, right?
It’s above my pay grade to speculate as to precisely who that will be.
Matthew Dowd made quite a splash with his announcement Wednesday that he’s entering the race for lieutenant governor, running as a Democrat. How do you distinguish yourself from him?
I welcome it. I mean, I think the goal of anybody who wants to hold such a high position is to go out and earn trust and to travel around the state and talk to Texans, earn their trust, earn their vote, don’t take any vote for granted, show up in every county and have a point of view as to how we solve those problems. I’m very comfortable in that role. I’ve been doing it now for a long time and I look forward going out and doing that. I suspect that I’ll earn the trust and the vote and the nomination, and then we’ll go beat Dan Patrick.
What about issues like gun rights, abortion and social justice? I’m not hearing you say a lot about that. Meanwhile, Dowd has said he’s going to reverse a lot of policies as soon as he gets into office. If elected, what would you do?
Democrats are and always will be the guardian of our rights. And whether it’s the right to vote, whether it’s the right to live and love the way your maker created you, whether it’s a woman’s right to be in control of her destiny and her body, that’s what Democrats fight for. And I will be working very hard to make sure people understand that I will fight for those rights. And there’s a lot that we have to undo in the last legislative session. I have no confidence that Republicans, for example, or Dan Patrick, is even slightly concerned with the Bill of Rights, our constitutional rights or individual liberties. I’ll let him explain what he’s worried about, what his agenda is. I’m not going to have to explain it for him. But what I do know is that I don’t see him fighting for our individual liberties. And I will.