Leticia Van de Putte, the Texas Democrat who this summer brought spectators in the state senate gallery to their feet when she questioned whether a “female senator” could be heard over her male colleagues, is expected to announce her candidacy for lieutenant governor any day now.
According to the Dallas Morning News, “a consultant familiar with the decision” has told journalists that Van de Putte could announce as early as Thursday in her home district of San Antonio.
The Texas lieutenant governorship is a position of significant power in the state’s legislature, as many observers learned this summer when sitting Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst presided over the debate surrounding HB 2, the omnibus anti-abortion bill that state Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered in July.
Van de Putte, who joined the debate on the Texas senate floor last June in the days after her father passed away, gave reproductive rights supporters a memorable rallying cry when she asked Lt. Gov. Dewhurst in frustration, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over male colleagues in this room?” The question sparked many minutes of cheers and clapping in the gallery, making it impossible for legislators to vote on and pass HB 2 before the midnight deadline.
With Wendy Davis running for governor, a Davis-Van de Putte platform would stand in stark contrast to the hard-right politics espoused by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is seeking the governor’s seat, and the four men already vying for the lieutenant governorship. Three Republicans have already begun campaigns for the position, in addition to Dewhurst, who is running for re-election: state Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, and state Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples.
In addition to her record supporting reproductive rights, Van de Putte has taken strong stances opposing her would-be lieutenant governor competitors on health care—she supports Texas taking a state Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act—and immigration, sponsoring the Texas Dream Act. At a fundraiser this month, KERA reports that Van de Putte mused, “In what society, in what America that we have, do we hold children responsible for their parents’ transgressions?”