AUSTIN — In eight years as arguably the most conservative “Big Two” in Texas history, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have achieved an uneasy peace. The two Republican leaders rarely clash in public and they’ve increasingly avoided conflict by doubling down on the unique — and quite different — duties the state Constitution prescribes for them.
Abbott glad-hands with corporate titans as the state’s economic-development cheerleader and has a closet full of khaki first-responder shirts with Texas seals as pocket insignias, for his travels as disaster-response leader. Patrick immerses himself in details of legislation and micromanages the Senate as the Capitol’s policy wonk in chief.
Some have likened them to an old married couple who, lacking personal rapport and affection, spend as much time as possible in separate wings of the house. But lieutenant governor is a more powerful position in Texas than in almost any other state, making tensions all but inevitable.