By Sandy Fitzgerald

Former President Donald Trump Monday endorsed Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s reelection bid, calling the Republican a “great fighter” for his state. 

“He has stood up for up for Life, Liberty, the Second Amendment, Border Security, our Military and our Vets, and our God-given Freedoms,” Trump said in a statement posted on his website. “He has governed by conservative principles of LOW TAXES and careful spending, always doing what is best for his great State and for America.  Texans should re-elect him!  He is outstanding and has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Trump’s latest endorsement comes as part of a long list the former president has made both while he was in the White House and after he left in January. It comes after another key recent endorsement in Texas with his backing of Susan Wright in the race to fill the congressional seat held by her husband, Rep. Ron Wright, who died of COVID-19 earlier this year.  

According to Ballotpedia, Trump endorsed 305 candidates during his presidency from 2017 to 2021, and another 14 endorsements after leaving office, before Monday’s endorsement for Patrick brought his total of endorsements up to 320 people. 

Such endorsements are valued by Republicans, according to a January 2021 survey by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers that found that 45% of Republicans said they would be more likely to support a candidate endorsed by Trump. 

The race for Texas’ lieutenant governor’s seat is just one of the big statewide contests that are popping up in 2022, with races for governor, attorney general, comptroller, and the commissioners of the General Land Office, the Department of Agriculture, and one of three seats on the Texas Railroad Commission up for grabs, reports The Texas Tribune.

Patrick has already announced that he is sticking to his campaign for reelection to his own seat rather than running against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, also a Republican, the newspaper also reports. 

“I’m not going to be that politician that, a year from now, says, ‘Well, you know, I changed my mind,'” Patrick said. 

Candidates have until Dec. 13 to officially file for the 2022 ballot, but the races in Texas are already looming large, with several nationally known names added to the mix. 

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and movie star Matthew McConaughey have both been mentioned as potential candidates against Abbott, and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the son of Jeb Bush, says he is “seriously considering” a race against incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Mike Collier, who lost to Patrick by less than 5 percentage points in 2018, hasn’t yet declared officially that he’ll try again, but he has already launched an exploratory campaign for the race, the Tribune reports. 

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