AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says surging tea party rival Dan Patrick is unfit to take over his powerful Texas office that he's struggling to keep after 12 years on the job.
Patrick shot back that Dewhurst has grown ineffectual during a combative debate Wednesday that epitomized the increasingly personal and blistering tone the race has taken with three weeks until their May 27 runoff.
Policy issues veered into sharp jabs over financial debts and Dewhurst eating dinner at an Austin steakhouse the night Democrats temporarily blocked an anti-abortion bill.
Dewhurst finished a distant second to Patrick in the March primary. A Patrick victory would clinch a total overhaul in every major statewide office next year.
The debate at Dallas television station WFAA was likely the last before the runoff.
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