AUSTIN — Scott Milder, a former Rockwall city councilman and an outspoken candidate for public schools, formally announced Thursday that he will challenge Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the spring GOP primary.
Milder, who had stated his intentions several weeks ago to run, was the first Republican to formally announce he will challenge Patrick, an ultra-conservative who he has criticized for his support of school vouchers among other issues.
“Texans are fed up with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s antics and deserve a choice on the Republican primary ballot,” Milder said. “Voters want to support a traditional conservative leader who will govern with common sense and focus on the critican challenges facing out great state.”
Milder also has criticized Patrick for his support of the bathroom bill, which Milder said would hurt Texas’ economy.
Milder served on the city council in Rockwall, in North Texas, from 2013 until earlier this year, when he lost a reelection bid. He is a senior associate at Stantec, an engineering and architectural firm, and is the co-founder and CEO of Friends of Texas Public Schools, a group that opposes school vouchers.
In a statement, Patrick’s political strategist, Allen Blakemore, appeared to dismiss the challenge. Patrick also faces a second challenger, Democrat Mike Collier, a Houston accountant.
“Dan Patrick is unequivocally the hardest working most effective, conservative leader in the history of the Texas Senate,” Blakemore said. “He enjoys overwhelming support among Texas Republicans, including early endorsements from Governor (Greg) Abbott, Senator (John) Cornyn, Senator (Ted) Cruz, major conservative grassroots leaders, a majority of Republican county chairs and (State Republican Executive Committee) members, and a long list of Texas business leaders.”