The Texas Panhandle has a long tradition of going its own way when it comes to politics. Now that State Sen. Kel Seliger is in the midst of a pitched re-election battle, he may pay for his legislative independence. Last session Seliger voted with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick 30 times, but he voted against the Senate leader twice. Those two “no” votes were enough to ignite the wrath of Patrick, according to Lubbock Avalanche-Journal columnist Jay Leeson.
In a recent column, Leeson wrote that state Rep. Ken King of Canadian and some other panhandle observers believe Seliger’s primary challenger, Amarillo restaurateur Victor Leal, is being propped up by Dan Patrick.
“What King and others believe is that this has been contrived by the lieutenant governor, whose own consultant is running Victor Leal’s campaign,” Leeson wrote.
Rep. King recently told The Canadian Record that “our senator, Kel Seliger, held the ground in the Senate, and he paid the price for it. He took it on the chin to do the right thing for his district. He wasn’t rewarded for it.”
A person close to the Leal campaign said he doesn’t believe Victor Leal is working on Patrick’s behalf, noting that the Leal campaign’s manager is being paid through Leal’s own fundraising.