Ex-Bush strategist Matthew Dowd running as Democrat in Texas

In this Sept. 2, 2009 file photo, Matthew Dowd, chief campaign strategist for the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign, speaks at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Ark. Dowd announced Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, that he will run as a Democrat for Texas lieutenant governor. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Matthew Dowd, a former political advisor to Republican President George W. Bush, announced Wednesday that he will run as a Democrat for Texas lieutenant governor.

The onetime chief strategist to Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign enters the race as a heavy underdog challenger to Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a firebrand who in two terms as second-in-command has driven the Texas Capitol to the hard right over guns, abortion and immigration.

In a video launching his campaign, Dowd said “the GOP politicians have failed us” and attacked Patrick over his response to mass shootings, Texas’ deadly winter blackout and leading a charge for more voting restrictions.

Patrick, who served chairman to former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns in Texas, won reelection in 2018 by more than 400,000 votes. No Democrat has won a statewide election in Texas in more than 25 years.

Dowd worked for Texas’ last Democratic lieutenant governor, Bob Bullock, before joining Bush’s team. He later broke with the former president and worked as an analyst for ABC News.

Democrat Mike Collier, who ran against Patrick in 2018, is also considering a second runfor lieutenant governor.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.