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Dan Patrick vs. Mike Collier: Race for Texas Lt. Gov. heats up

Polling shows Mike Collier, a former oil executive, is within striking distance of Dan Patrick in what could be another close matchup between the two.

HOUSTON — The race for lieutenant governor is heating up just weeks out from election day in Texas.

Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Democrat Mike Collier are facing off in November.

However, over the weekend, there was a surprise endorsement when Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a Republican, said he’s backing Collier.

RELATED: Republican Tarrant County judge plans to back Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's Democratic challenger in November

Whitley said it’s because of Collier’s stance on local control and smaller government.

Polling shows Collier, a former oil executive, is within striking distance of Patrick in what could be another close matchup between the two.

“One person who I’ll support statewide that will get me in a little trouble (is) Mike Collier for lieutenant governor,” Whitley said.

With two months to go until the November election, many are locking in their endorsements before the voters head to the polls, which is why the Republican judge is supporting the Democrat.

“I just think he's someone who understands local control,” Whitley said.

As property taxes skyrocket across the state of Texas, some local officials said the state has created the environment due to unfunded state mandates.

“Our property tax explosion is a consequence of state fiscal policy,” Collier said.

Collier is laying the blame at the feet of Patrick and the tax giveaways to corporations shifting financial burdens to homeowners.

“They’re furious about property taxes, and they should be. And Dan Patrick continues to lie and blame locals. It is not local government’s fault, it’s failed state fiscal policy,” Collier said.

Patrick responded to the endorsement in a tweet:

“Look, during the last legislative session, the legislature made huge strides in reducing the burden of property taxes,” Republican strategist Vlad Davidiuk said.

Davidiuk said lowering property taxes will be a focus of all Republicans -- not just Abbott and Paxton -- come January.

RELATED: Y'all-itics: If you were ever going to fight your property taxes, this is the year to do it

“With the current rate of inflation, with jobs being difficult to come by for a lot of Texans, with the prices of gas and goods rising, one less thing that Texans need is higher property taxes,” Davidiuk said.

Whitley said he won’t be running for re-election in 2022.

In their last matchup in 2018, Patrick beat Collier by 5 points.

Patrick didn't respond to KHOU 11 News' request for an interview.

Judge Whitley tweeted multiple times Monday following his weekend announcement.

The full text of the thread is below.

"Lots of talk this weekend about property taxes. Under LtGov Patrick’s leadership, property tax bills have skyrocketed. Local leaders aren’t the problem - it’s the state not paying their fair share to educate our children and pay for their public safety responsibilities.

For example, we have adults in our jails who have been sentenced to the state prison, but the state isn’t taking them. The county isn’t going to release them, obviously, so we continue to foot the bill. This is just one example.

Our local property taxes are paying for state responsibilities. And instead of partnership we get rhetoric. We need leadership in Austin. If LtGov Patrick really wanted lower taxes, the state wouldn’t have so much money sitting in its bank account - it would be in yours."

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