By John Celock
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has moved a step closer to reelection, easily winning the Republican nomination for a second term.
Bush fended off a strong challenge from former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson in Tuesday’s primary, avoiding a runoff with his predecessor. Bush carried 58.2 percent of the vote statewide compared to 29.7 percent for Patterson. Two lesser known candidates grabbed 12.1 percent of the vote.
Bush now faces Democrat Miguel Suazo in November.
The primary race featured a battle between the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush against the well known Patterson. Bush succeeded Patterson when Patterson declined to seek a third term in 2014 in order to run an unsuccessful race for lieutenant governor.
Patterson’s campaign largely centered on Bush’s management of the Alamo, including Bush’s decision to set up a series of non-profit groups to handle the day-to-day management and financing of the historic site. In addition, Patterson was critical of Bush’s proposed renovation of the Alamo, including the creation of a new visitor’s center at the landmark in San Antonio.
Bush defended his record in managing the Alamo and said that the nonprofits were consistent with practices used in other states for management of historic sites. He also said the proposed renovations would help visitors to the attraction.
In addition to managing the Alamo, Texas’ land commissioner manages the state’s public lands, including mineral rights which help fund the state’s public schools, along with managing the state’s coastlines, public beaches and a variety of veterans programs.